Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Week 2: Blogging Along in Ning Land

Even without a computer lab most of my students are now in the blogs for my two classes: Justice for All (lib arts cluster with theatre and philosophy) and World Lit in English....what I'm most impressed with is the quality of the posts--so much more thoughtful than the piddling remarks they used to make on BB discussion board. They clearly love the Ning, write extensively (500+ words) and the responses, especially in the lit class are really thoughtful (see World Lit295 ning). In my Eng 101 course in the cluster, we began with something you would risk your life for (prep for Antigone). They wrote dramatic narratives, not just summaries so my Theatre teaching partner asked me to post his assignment to turn the narratives into a Blog-Play. Students eagerly created characters and stories with 2 characters and conflict as per Will's instructions--results on Justice101cluster ning. So this is a cool example of co-authoring the Ning in a cluster. I am going to ask Charity Scribner who teaches another section of World Lit if she would like her students to blog with mine since she mentioned it would be nice if our students could meet :) .

In Ning land I am having only modest difficulties--2 students whose text comes in black which can hardly be read--can't figure out how to fix but can read by highlighting it; another savvy student set his post to open on a future date (maybe he didn't want others stealing his ideas)--and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't respond--he explained); another set hers not to allow response--will be taking some smartroom time to review the management options they seem to have control of! One quirky development: someone who is not in my class started responding to our readings in World Lit--and other students answered him. I decided, why not? and have sent him titles of next readings students will be blogging about--he finds the stories and blogs along with the others...kind of cool...I look forward to our next meeting and making new connections for our research project in 101 (hate crimes)--Laramie Project and other examples (maybe Rosewood). Laura Tanenbaum (affiliate) suggested great piece by James Baldwin, "A Stranger in the Village" which was perfect for discussion of Eurocentrism, Grand Narratives and Orientalism...we are focusing a lot on methodology and tools right now...maybe if we talk in more detail about content it will help us find partners???? just a thought...

4 comments:

  1. OMG--"Stranger in the Village" is just amazing! (so is most of Baldwin)--you may also want to check YouTube for some interviews with this wonderful man.

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  2. Your Ning experience highlights two of the very cool features of Web-based work that are markedly different from traditional teaching structures. The student posting on timed delay reminds us that, when it comes to technology, oftentimes students have as much to teach as instructors do. The Web is a great equalizer and can help to diffuse the center of expertise in the course. It's great when everybody can be a learner. As for the random digital passer-by who has taken an interest in your class, that's neat. A bit weird, and possibly deserving of some precautionary monitoring, but neat still.

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  3. Yes, that is fascinating about a random digital passerby. I'm not sure if I would know how to deal with that. But, it sounds like you are really reaping the rewards of technology.

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  4. Also, I'm not totally sure that the story would fit within your class guidelines, but the short story, "The Bridegroom," by Ha Jin is remarkable for the empathy it evokes.

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