My interviews were very helpful, as they stirred some ideas that were already percolating, and alleviated some of my own anxieties. I have no experience with blogs, and could not get Blogger to work today, so it was comforting to know that I am not the only one who has never used a blog. I think the point of the blogs is to create a lively exchange and dialogue among students. However, one point that came up in our discussion concerns the degree of artificiality in this process. So one question is, how do you get real “buy-in” on the part of students? How do you facilitate a real exchange and dialogue? How do we make this less flat?
The idea of using video as a tool came up. I was intrigued by how Thomas has already used video with his students and am eager to learn more about this. I believe students would take real ownership of this process and it can become a historical record that one can come back to for later discussion.
In terms of a learning community activity, a lot came up in terms of how students can be paired. There were different thoughts about pairing more advanced students with beginning students, and whether this would be helpful or create feelings of discomfort. Is it better to pair similarly situated students, or have different levels of abilities supporting one another? Could this be empowering or diminishing?
Collaborating with students for the purpose of peer review of assignments was also addressed.