Friday, October 28, 2011

Our Intellectual Property: Blogs, Blackboard, and Students

In our group conversation we went over the relative merits of Blogger over Blackboard, discussed how students use blogs to post and comment on each others' writing, also discussed using Twitter feed and Google Groups for discussion, and finally spoke to the benefits and challenges of these tools.

Although time-consuming occasionally, we have all found blogs to be a valid tool for classroom use. Dr. X reports that her blog allows her a space to assign tasks, to communicate with students, and to provide her students with a space to grow and evolve their writing ability. Since she's working with many basic and developing writers, giving them a space on Blogger to expand their capacities for putting thoughts into words is particularly helpful. Aaron showed how he's begun leaving assignments on blogger for students to respond to, and how he hopes to begin incorporating more low-stakes and discussion-oriented activities into his class. Dr. Jrc showed how he's been "live blogging" during his writing workshops with students in class, how Twitter can feed class discussions and out of class reading, and how Blogger has generally become an outstanding tool for organizing on-going essay assignments, blog prompts, and student blogs. The blogs have also become a great space for peer evals and cross-class peer commentary.

The subject of intellectual property also came up as a key difference between Blogger and Blackboard. There is some concern about the legal ownership of intellectual property by CUNY whenever someone posts something to Blackboard. We all feel strongly that open-source content free of legal riga-ma-rool is the most ethical direction for the future.

There was a challenge about making Blogger the ultimate tool for coursework because Dr. Jrc questioned whether or not it could host PDFs. Dr. X said it could, because a blog could link to a Google Doc, and that G-Doc could be used to upload an off-site PDF. A PDF from a text that's been scanned could be merged into a G-Doc.

The challenges can literally occur in the lab itself. The computer classroom disrupts the signal to Blogger (and Twitter) and makes it hard for students to all comment at the same time.

[Image from Free Design Web]


  1. I think I would like to hear more about how "live blogging" works--sounds like a cool idea

  2. It's interesting to see that Blogger can be easily organized since that's one of my concerns with Facebook. Peer evaluations and cross-class commentary can also be challenging since I have created closed FB groups for each class. My group today also discussed the problem of in-class technical issues; they used to be extremely stressful for me but I have definitely learned to take them in stride and even ask students for help when necessary.

  3. I too have weighed the pros and cons of Blackboard vs. Blogger. Blackboard is more secure since it has a firewall, but this is also a major limitation. I find that my students seem much more proud of the work they produce for Blogger rather than Blackboard Expo. They must feel more responsible for work that is visible to the entire internet. Copyright and content ownership are issues that I am still coming to term with.

  4. This is quite interesting how each of you use Blogger to engage your student in the learning process. I can see how useful this tool will be especially for our remedial mathematics students "to grow and evolve their" mathematics skills. We encourage our students to work in small groups either in or outside the classroom because they can improve their skills through the mistakes/correctness of others.

  5. It is interesting to note that Blackboard has recently opened the gate and allows linking and posting information to the public. It now places it somewhere between Facebook and Blogging.

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