Saturday, April 9, 2011

Public Lives

Greetings from Seattle where I am for the Phi Theta Kappa convention.
This past week as we were discussing MLA documentation, one student insisted that she did not see the reason to have these sources documented and if I would not hunt her down all would be ok. How she has pegged me as the person that would be so cavalier about breaking rules is an issue for the student's special coach in reading people to deal with, but another student had an "aha" moment and told her "they will find you because you will post it online."
Throughout the term the realization of what it means to have the work public has been gradual, for them and sometimes even for me, and this was one of these moments. Another student asked "is that why we have blogs?" I told them that I did not have that as a main or even secondary reason, but there are unintended consequences of making your work public. By the same token I explained that this way they really are writers and have real audiences, in a way that writing papers for a professor alone to read cannot replicate. So, while I am not fully satisfied with blogger (interactions are not as good for group discussion, so I would have to resort to google groups for instance) the open nature of it is a big advantage for writing classes.


  1. Interesting! Some students do not seem (actually, some people) that stealing is stealing.

  2. Yeah--I'm moving toward Blogger +

    That is: Blogger + Groups + Docs (the new groups allows for photos & apparently will have a rating system soon, so it may be well worth it).

  3. I find the notion that writers write to an audience (and not just to a white computer screen) to be one of the most important, and yet hardest to teach, components of a writing course. If your students are figuring it out through Blogger, that's a great outcome, whether intended or not.