This Friday, I gave my students the entire class to compose as much of the first draft of their photo analysis paper. Last Friday, every student wrote a description of a photograph of a man (either his own photo, a relative, friend, significant other), and before this Friday's class, I asked students to create graphic organizers or outlines or lists based on the description/notes they took on the photograph. For the most part, students came in prepared for both Fridays' classes, but as usual some didn't bring in a photo last Friday and other came in this Friday confused as to what is going on in class. But as 22 of the 25 students posted their first drafts, some a day late and others who missed classes and did not know how to access Google docs (i included directions in the assignment but then who wants to read a paragraph long directions, right?) simply posted their papers on their blogs, rather than posting a link to a Google Docs document, I think that's a pretty good turn out.
What became troublesome is that when students copied and pasted the link from Google Docs to their blogs, the link was inactive and did not work as a link. Here I must command my students, because I posted comments on their blogs that the links were not working and directions how to fix them, and 5 of the 6 who had this issue responded immediately and got the link to work :)
Also, I though that once students peer reviewed each other's papers they could simply post the new link to the copy of the first draft they created to complete the peer review, but the links posted in the comment boxes were once again not active links. Did I make this part up? I'm fairly certain that I've done this last term- pasted links to copies of papers with my comments into the comment boxes. Well once again, I e-mailed and posted on the class blog about how to get around this issue...it has been a long weekend and I've only managed to peer review half of the papers myself. The fact that blogger was being stubborn and refused to cooperate-none of the blog pages would open- did not help.
But overall, I'm impressed with the quality of observation and analysis in students' first drafts, as they seem to have really engaged with the assignment- analyzing the male in the photo in regards to his masculinity.
Also, one of my student's blog posts is quite angry (this is a post responding to Theroux's "The Male Myth") and he write that the write was probably "raped by a man as a child" and that's why he hates being a man. Is there a sensitive way of conveying to the student that this might be a bit over the top, or as it is his blog, he can interpret the reading as he understands it? By the way, he also pronounces Theroux to be an immature, feminine and dramatic writer.
Is there a spell checker function in Google Docs?