Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Blogging Use: From Kris Blair, English

(from Kris Blair...)

My work with blogs began in Spring 2004. I began a course blog for a graduate seminar in our doctoral program titled The Rhetoric of Written Discourse, available at http://english724.candconline.org

The only directives I gave (students) were that they make an entry once a week of no more than 250 words and read and perhaps post to someone else's blog entry. Perhaps because it was a grad. seminar, the blog ended up being a phenomenal success, as students went above and beyond the initial requirement. Some students used it for prelim studying purposes, some to dialogue and interrogate the work we were reading, and others for more traditional dialogue among peers. I've since used blogs in two other seminars, The Teaching of Writing (Fall 04) at http://english620.candconline.org and Computer-Mediated Writing Theory (Spring 05) at http://english728.candconline.org

Although these blogs were successful, I have since discovered that students may not feel as positive about the blogging experience for some of the same reasons that other digital tools become problematic for (extra work, lack of response, gendered or raced behavior patterns that exclude and silence).

As a result, this semester, in my graduate seminar on Research Methodology, I have a more focused purpose for blogs, which my students are now just beginning to create using blogger. In this case, the students will keep a research progress report journal that they must update periodically during the term, with their group members actually providing more focused feedback, ensuring some interaction that some really felt they needed for the blog to have exigence.

Overall, blogs have really redefined graduate education, providing another form of professional development. As a group, several groups of students, colleagues, and I have presented our work with blogs at national meetings such as the Conference on College Composition and Communication and the Computers and Writing Conference, and we have just submitted a web-based article (a version of it is at http://personal.bgsu.edu/~rcolby/blog1 ) to the online journal Kairos.

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