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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Blogging and alternative life styles...

Since most of my initial duties at the University of New Hampshire related to the graduate program in public administration, I had not fully participated in undergraduate teaching until this past semester when I took on two undergraduate courses. It wasn't until I was preparing a syllabus for one that I noticed a “W” in the schedule. I vaguely recall being told about "writing intensive" courses, but I was about to deal with my first. In response I created a monster by deciding to use student blogging (see here and here) and discussion forum entries as the basis for 70% of the grade. To make matters worse, I exercised my characteristic procrastination techniques all semester and left the grading to the last two weeks. I have just completed (for the most part) the task of grading several hundred short (from one to several paragraphs in length) "essays".

The task was as "enjoyable" as it sounds. Yesterday, with the assistance of my graduate assistant (thank you, Kevin!) I finally filled in most of the gaps and now have only student complaints to deal with.... (The registrar's office is on my case since I have already missed their generous deadlines and will now have to wait until after the holiday weekend to file the grades).

And now it is back to blogging and other essential matters of life....

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Comments on "Blogging and alternative life styles..."


Anonymous Dan Smith said ... (4:42 PM) : 

The idea of incorporating blogging into a course is interesting and attractive to me, but I'm hesitant to give it a try until I am more seasoned with more traditional methods. Did you find the experience worthwhile?


Blogger Mel said ... (7:42 PM) : 

It worked out pretty well after a bumpy start. It was a course on Mass Media and American Politics, and two of the work groups (around 12 each) were assigned blogs to run. One was a Media Watch blog (see that required commentary on the mass media. The other was a 'punditry' blog (at that gave students an idea of what it takes to do a regular column. The within group contributions were a bit uneven, but overall I was pleased. It certainly met the UNH requirement for being a writing intensive assignment....

That is, I was pleased until the grading -- I should have kept up with things and not let my assessments slip to the end of the term.

I think I might try it again, but perhaps with a bit more upfront direction and certainly with a bit less procrastination when it comes to grading....



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