Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blog excitement loosing momentum

This week my class only met on Friday, due to school being closed on Monday, and I've asked the students to conduct some research in  order to find primary sources in men's magazines for their first research paper. I went over the assignment in class on two separate days and reserved this Friday's class for composition of annotated bibliographies. So the students were responsible for bringing in four primary sources (combination of articles, ads, features, and such) to class on Friday and I gave the the two hours of class time to work on their annotated bibliographies. But just a fraction actually brought the sources with them to class, and majority simply spent the two hours conducting research.
I think I will have to require that students complete the work at home, or at least the first drafts.
Also my students were not very excited about connecting with a research class, no matter how enticing I tried to make it sound (i.e. LRC103 students will act as research advisers and they will answer questions about research and MLA format. It will be great, just like having a personal editor). One student actually asked if after the class and semester is over, will she be able to delete the blog and her contact info. from the LRC103 Ning. Ouch...burn...


  1. You know, that's precisely why I am contemplating taking a hiatus from teaching ENG101--the students are generally enjoying the class and then the research paper comes and half of the class turns into a grump (or starts not coming to class). There is something about the words "research paper" that just turns students off--even if the subject is interesting (I was doing sex and gender last semester, for God's sake).

    As to the student that wants to delete her work--well, the net can be a very scary thing, what with all the cyberbullying, etc. so I can see that some people would simply want not to participate. What I like is that she is willing to blog publicly at least as long as the class lasts-- I have had students who have asked to have password-protected blogs...

  2. Privacy is a big issue for me and even getting me to blog publicly is not easy. Yes, I am doing it as a seminar component but it is not in my comfort zone.

    As for the personal editor, so many leave even the research projects to the last minute that this forces them to plan and share with someone besides the instructor - they may not be ready to see value in this.

  3. I've been seeing a lot of activity and friending on the LRC Ning, but it's hard to tell if this indicates any amount of behind-the-scenes communication (or online socializing, even). It's a challenge to keep up any enthusiasm, but we'll see how this goes. On a happier note, collaborating with Prof. Bogacka is awesome - so at least we have some small-scale cross-departmental community building.

  4. I completely understand students' reluctance to put their work out on the Web; full public disclosure can be a scary thing. (Even with the blog I write for my own leisure, I use a pseudonym.) At the same time, I would be willing to wager quite a bit that many students who resist public blogging are less than careful with their Facebook privacy settings and the like. Part of any Web-based class activity should be discussion and raised awareness of one's digital footprint in all forms.

  5. I'm with Craig--having a talk (or talks) with students as to what they are actually doing/ how much information they are disclosing on online platforms must be part of a course that uses such tools.

  6. Pardon me for saying so, but after 20 years of teaching in online and networked environments, I am starting to suspect that some of the reticence to post online and etc. may originate with the instructor. Proviso: I clearly lost one student this semester in the second week because she was shy, did not think she could write well, and did not want her writing to be "public". I am mulling on that one because I hate to lose students, especially that early.

    That said, we may want to consider the tone we use with online activities. For example cyber-stalking, identity theft, and cyber-bullying are not as prolific as the media makes out (i.e. in 20 years I have not been subject to any of these nor known personally anyone who has, nor have any of my students, now numbering in the 1000's ever been the subject of such activities). However, I think we do have the responsibility, as Dr. X indicates, to educate our students on how to be mindful of their online activities just as they are mindful of how, when, where, and with whom they run around NYC.

    The internet is not "safe" like BB6 is "safe". The internet is a continual field trip and I think we should remind students of that--it is fun, but watch your buddy and keep your pack in hand, and so on.

    But, how do we keep the balance between awareness and enjoyment without spoiling the whole trip?