Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The great thing about Ning is that they do feel it is theirs. The blogging is really solid, interesting, has depth; they are quoting from the text and have started spontaneous responses to the current novel (Love int he Time of Cholera). I want to channel their enthusiasm into discussion leadership and I want this to happen online to strengthen our discussion follow-up in class. Good motivation so far. So one student said (on the blog) she was fascinated by all of Garcia Marquez's references to the civil war and chaos surrounding the oblivious bourgeoisie. She volunteered to start her own blog on the topic; she researched the endless Colombian civil wars between liberals and conservatives. A humor group in class discussion gathered the funniest moments so far (parrot falling into the stew pot won)--we posed the question--why does GGM combine seriousness (mortality, love, solitude) with farce (people in evening clothes wading through mud and dead animals in a thunderstorm...)--again--this needs to be interrogated, hashed out online; what I like is that they are really prepared in class--ready with page references etc.

on another note, work online is so good I am disappointed in their writing--even in an honors course I am going to have to spend a good chunk of time on essay structure--Jason--love your period and comma thingie on youtube; I need one for essay structure--that it has to be about ONE THING, not go in 7 directions simply because you have brilliant thoughts--is this what the blogs have spawned??? (just kidding--I am still totally in love with them). One more thing--I have started taking very brief notes on what they are noticing--then assigning groups according to their interests--Charles will lead definition of passionate love discussion; Penelope will lead discussion of history etc...they like that I have noted their interests and it helps incorporate the blog into class discussion--this may be obvious to those who have been using this technology for awhile but thought I would mention it...that's all for now :)


  1. I ran into Daniel, my former student in your class.I had directed him to take the class, and he said, "I LOVE IT! It's my favorite class." So, now you know. He's a smart kid, writes well.
    I saw your Ning blog, and was put to shame. I feel as if I was so caught up in creating the "PennyDreadful Graphic Novel," that I didn't use some obvious blogging opportunity to connect with others, classes and faculty. There certainly are some common themes in our courses, but I'm not sure that all my students are reading all the works. Some are; some are not.
    It may be late for any connections right now. We will be going into the Southern Gothic in about two weeks. We will also be continuing with Poe. That would make a nice connection with the "family secrets, dysfunctional families."

  2. One more thing: RE: sentence structure. It all feels so commonplace to cover grammar when we are discussing such great works to have to stop and go over the (gasp)comma. But, I have, of course, had to go over structure. They minded (or pretended) less than I thought.

  3. Yes-- I do think it is what the blogs spawn. SO--the key is to figure out how to move them from the blogs to essay writing, as Rich has pointed elsewhere. We can do this, if we put our heads together. Maybe we will not do it in time for this class, but we can figure out what else is needed for the transition.

    OR: maybe we are witnessing the slow death of the essay format. I mean, it wasn't around since the Dawn of Man or anything, so maybe we just need to figure out what is the next main form of communicating ideas...

  4. I can relate to what you said, Ximena, re: is this the slow death of the essay format, or (I'm wondering) are we just somehow not able to figure out how to get from "A" to "B"? Does this generation think so much in "down and dirty" quick links that they cannot see the essay as a pure form, OR is it us?