Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Rare Problem

Well, as it turns out my ENG 102 students have no problem reading each others' blog posts and responding to issues pertaining to the class. However, after the first couple of weeks all posts have turned to the class assignments and non-"business" chatter has died down. I wonder if I should make a blog assignment a complete freeewrite for them (that also feels unnatural--like making them break from the mold by creating a mold for that) or if there are any other suggestions my fellow networkers here have. Just to explain where I am coming from on this issue, I do take the community label to mean just that, and I do not find a class that simply exchanges notes and opinions on assignments to be a community. A work group, but not a community. So, I am open to suggestions.

23 comments:

  1. My suggestion would be to start slow, as I tried to do--just with a few careful interactions with clear objectives for both sets of students. Then reflect on what happened, and add to the interaction as you see fit.

    For example, several of my ENG 101 students asked me yesterday if they could ask the ENG 103 students to comment on their last draft of Paper 2 because they thought the comments were very useful (obviously this is not true of all readers, so I am not requiring an interaction of this kind, but rather letting the ENG 101 students act on their own volition). Others asked if it would be okay to post a more personal comment for their ENG103 reader (they would like to know more about the ENG103 students).

    In other words, as Laura pointed out as a comment to my earlier post, students are not sure what kind of interaction I will "allow" and so they feel the need to ask me if what they want to do is "OK."

    So, what started as a work group (though I would not even call it that) is--in less than a week and for a few students--being changed into something else, out of students' own volition/curiosity/what-you-call it. And I am just sitting and letting it play out, trying not to get in the way. 'Cause you can't prescribe community; you can only allow them to connect in some way that is meaningful and let them decide. But I guess you already knew that...

    I hope this helps some

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have to have the right combination of teacher, assignment, students, and tool. You may find that Facebook might be better for you (especially if you do not have a computer class). More to follow . . .

    ReplyDelete
  3. Blogger definatly helps students feel a sense of community especially while working in a cluster. By seeing other classmates posts it helps me gather my thoughts if I haven’t posted anything and it lets me know I haven’t gone too far off the subject after I have posted something. The one thing I like about the blog is that it seems a lot more personal as I write it. I can write it just as I see it in my mind without worrying about proper format and paragraph structure and so on.

    ReplyDelete
  4. From: Jarvis Emery

    At first when I heard about having to do blogs I thought that this is so stupid, why do we have to do blogs, they’re not going to help in anyway. Now after doing them I feel the very different . The blogs help you to communicate with your classmates on different levels. You don’t really discuss your papers and homework in class, but with the blogs I found myself commenting online and in class and it would turn into a group discussion, which I feel you learn more that way.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Blogger has been very useful in our class. It helps us better connect. I can see what other students are getting from the class and even improve my work. You feel like a community working together. The constructive criticism is very useful. It just makes getting ideas easier and staying on track.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Although it seems like our class uses Blogger solely to post our own thoughts on an assigned topic while being forced to "follow" the blogs of our classmates, it actually helps with getting to know everyone else's writing styles and inputing suggestive comments and constructive criticisms. With accomplishing classwork as a common goal, a sense of community is established despite our many different opinions and personal choices.
    Reading and commenting on each other's blogs within our cluster helps me get the general sense of what level my work should be at, and what I can improve based on my classmates' ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Dr. Vasileiou!
    I’m Fernando and I think Blogger is awesome. It’s become very helpful in class discussions because we’re able to connect to each other on our own time. For example, I have a hard time waking up early for class and sometimes it will take me a while to participate in class with others or the teacher, and the fact that you’re already trapped in a room for so long and you feel like you’re forced to talk becomes frustrating. Although the assignments are required, we find out things about each other outside of the classroom and find common interests or differences and we discuss them over blog assignments. The students need to get to know one another more or maybe a little more about yourself and then people will feel less uncomfortable about getting off the topics and getting a little personal.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I find using the blogger to be very helpful. I didn't like the idea of having to share my writing with other people I didn't know, but by now I'm already used to it and if anything it has helped me to somewhat improve. By being able to interact with other blogs we can see other perspectives and different styles of writing that might give us an idea on how to change our own posts. That is being in a community because though we don't share as many personal things with each other we still read each other’s work and give constructive criticism to help that person improve. With that alone, blogging connects us and helps us work together. Just continue to give an assignment that encourages them to comment or revise other people's posts, eventually it would just become a force of habit.

    ReplyDelete
  9. hi professor Vasileiou,

    i think using the blogs to connect your students is a great idea.to be honest with you, i didn't think that way when i heard about using the blogs in my first class.But after a while, i feel diferent.now, i see that blogs are useful tools to help the students connect each other and discuss the school works. please use the blogs for better way of learning..!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Dr.Dr. Vasileiou im Christopher P.
    I think Blogs are a great way to help students feel connected and become more open minded in class and out. Also adapting to the idea of sharing there very own opinions, At first i wasn't really comfortable with the idea of random people reading my thoughts and opinions. But as time went on i realized I'm not the only one who share these same thoughts and opinions and to have others relate to my same thoughts and opinions, just adds more of a connection with classmates through blogs. But not all thoughts and idea's are seen eye to eye. But with the blogs, people can comment and give there reasons and claims on why they disagree. Which helps you understand both sides.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I believe you have the right idea I just believe that you should have the students put into groups and tell each other what they need to work on and what they might do to help each other. In a way this helps take away the shyness of your students and helps them to network with each other to come up with better ways to make their papers sound better. It worked for my ENG 96 class in the fall with my professor Dr. X so I think it would be an excellent idea.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello Dr.V

    I feel like blogger is every helpful in the sense that we as a class (especially a cluster class) become more united and closer. At first I was a little weary of the idea of doing blogs all the time as a form of essay and things like that. But as time progressed and I got the hang of it, I liked it a lot more. It kind of reminds me of facebook or another social network, so I think that your idea was good about letting your students free write. If you allow them to do so, it would be a lot easier for the students to comment back and make connections rather than always responding to a prompt given in class (no offense)

    Back to the fact that I am in a cluster class it makes it a lot easier to connect to my classmates because not only do we take all of our classes together but we can hold decent conversations that wont go dry after about to or three comments. I hope that my insight was helpful, okay... Bye...

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi professor this is the first time using blogger. In my opinion blogs are very helpful because when I am lost and I don't understand the assignment my ENG 101 professor assign me. I can read some else for a better understanding. In addition your class mate as well can help you out where you want wrong.I like learning from other people because it help me grow and improve my assignments.

    ReplyDelete
  15. From- Kenny Stockwell

    I think that the blogs do a great job of not only forming a community but help to get more honest criticism. I have had several comments left that helped me with my writing and I hope my comments do the same for others. They also helped everyone to get to know each other sooner, and I feel that in general because of the blogs (and in part to the cluster) class discussions are much more open and intense.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello my name is Eduviges I'm in ENG101. At first I thought that having to write blogs as assignments for my class would be a pain and stupid. I wouldn't really learn anything but as I started I realized it was helping me open up in a personal level and communicate with my classmates. Also it helps us learn more about our professor. I suggest you should start slow like a reading and let them response to it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love Blogging!!!
    My name is Ashley and I think Blogs are great!...It keeps us interacting with each other. Whenever we have homework and I'm confused about something I can just read other students post and understand it better. It's also convenient if you are doing research and want to include a link for people to see .

    ReplyDelete
  18. My name is Nasit Phongtankul. I am a student of eng101 class. I think the blog is very useful. IT help me alot because when I got stuck, I could depend on my classmates for example and opinion,then ideas would just pops up. I also like the fact that it's convenience and easy to use. I can go back and correct things, leave comment on my classmates posts and ask them questions. Overall the blog is a great idea for bringing people together just like myspace or facebook but more educational.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I really enjoy the blog interaction, and I do found when students interact with each other it is very fun as well as useful. I also believe that their feedback is more easily conceived, because you feel like their giving you ideas to improve your writing. With the professor feedback there's a grade behind it. It also gives the professor's different point of views about whatever piece of writing that's being display. This is similar to facebook in a way because we comment on people thoughts or what they are thinking that certain moment or specific day

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hello Dr. Vasileiou. My Name is Raymond. I am a student in Dr. Smith's ENG101.103 class. I have been asked to comment on how the blogs help me to connect with my class. Well the truth is I'm a shy guy. I have not really participated in any online conversations with my fellow classmates BUT the choice that I have to see my peers' work has been very helpful to me. If I don't have the idea of how my work is supposed to be organized i can check my fellow students' work. That is what I have found most useful about using blogger also the work isn't necessarily due the before class ends so if I'm not done writing something I can post it and then go back and finish it at home. Another thing I love is that if I miss a day of school I can go to Dr. Smith's blog and see the work that is supposed to be done

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello Doc. Vasileiuo
    I am Santiago Peralta, when I was told that in my English class we were going to use blogs, the first thought that came up to my mind was boring!. Now my point of view about the blog has totally changed. I think is the best way in how students can interact with the classmates and also with the professor. Students can share their ideas,thoughts and you can show your point of view. Also we can see all the assignments and due dates of it, so we don’t stay behind. This is a way in which students can interact with each other, its very helpful and fun!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Name: Jose Pena

    The one thing i found surprising was how interesting this program was. Its weird (i never been involved in a class that involved no paper what so ever) but non the less it's pretty unique and i think that's what makes it effective. With blogger we all get a different perspective of our assignments, you get to see what everyone else see's this can be helpful and overall it makes you more involved, sometimes you get this sense of cooperation. Not always though that's about the only downfall to this whole ordeal. i feel we need projects that require non stop communication with each other something like a social experiment or whatever as opposed to just responding to one or two blogs from a fellow student.But yeah that's about it for now either way so far so good.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Ximena,
    I haven't had any interactions with other classes yet--sorry if that was confusing. I was talking about the blogs my own students write.
    But, after visiting the blogs of Jason's students I see that is typical from blogger and maybe the medium doesn't allow the kind of interactions I have in mind. But starting slow is always good advice, especially for me since I am impatient.

    ReplyDelete