Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Weblogs and Class Discussion

So, I screwed up in class Monday. I told students I would be looking for more original commentary in their weblogs, and less recap of class discussion. It seemed a reasonable thing to say at the time, since quite a few students were merely summarizing class discussion and sticking an "agree" or "disagree" label at the end of each summary. Kind of boring to read and too focused on the class -- the idea was that these would be public documents that might attract a larger audience then just me (the marker) or at least spark interchange between students, but that wasn't really happening. Many of the blogs would not make sense to anyone not already privy to class discussion. So what I should have said was something about being free to talk about stuff outside of class content if they wanted to. But they way I said it nearly killed the class.

Luckily a couple of students tipped me to what I had REALLY said. "If you are looking for original insight in our blogs," they told me, "We'll reserve our best ideas for when we go to write, and not make those points in class discussion." Well, duh! I would too, if that's were the marks are. Consequently, I very nearly killed class discussion in my discussion course! Ouch!How dumb was that!

I will try to backpeddle in class today, and hope it works and that I don't just make things worse. But I've got to try or the rest of this semester could be a disaster!