With the first week behind, I’m anxiously looking forward to the next one. Hopefully, the next week will be less hectic. I experimented with a shared, collaborative blog in one of my Spring courses, and I was vacillating between a shared blog, individual blogs, or maybe switching to a completely new platform such as Ning this Fall. I even went as far as creating the basic Ning account and paid the $19.95 basic membership fee to ultimately settle on individual Blogger accounts. I teach two sections of the Freshman seminar that meet once a week for an hour. I was able to secure a computer lab for my Tuesday class, but to my dismay, the Wednesday class had been assigned to a Smart classroom. Thus, most of the students in my Tuesday class were able to create their gMail and Blogger accounts in class, whereas the Wednesday group will create their accounts as homework. Most of the students had heard of blogs and “online journaling” whereas others were new to the idea. Approximately one third of the students were unable to create their Blogger accounts in class due to “account verification” issues. Students were asked to confirm the authenticity of their account requests by providing a phone number in exchange of a verification code. Many of the students felt uneasy about providing their cell phone numbers and others did not have active cell phones. I instructed students to create their accounts at home, and to let me know if they continued to experience problems with the Blogger. Maybe there was too much internet traffic from one location and Blogger randomly requested additional account verification for some of the new accounts?
As far as connecting with other classes, I’m planning on having my two groups interact with each other and I also met with Steve this past week to discuss different ways of connecting with his Group Dynamics class (more about that later). My goal for this semester is to have students reflect on their learning in class and to document their experiences as a first semester student.