What the Blog?

I’ve been using the Class Blog concept heavily this semester to great success — in my opinion. I am asking students to post for both graded (Discussion Activity) and ungraded (random thoughts) posts … I am getting 100% participation on the graded ones and about 60% on the ungraded ones. The latter blows my mind.

I have used the message board in other LMS tools extensively in previous semesters and have never gotten students to post a thing for ungraded items — never! This semester they just seem to show up and write something. In addition, the quality and quantity of the graded posts is astonishing — I think I am beginning to understand why. In the message board tools I’ve used in the past, students can’t see everyone else’s posts without actually clicking through them … the blog comments are all visible from the get go. I think this is causing them to use the other posts as a signpost, or guideline, in their own posting. Very cool. I am in the process of building a study to ascertain the real reasons behind all this. I will post the findings here later this semester.

In addition to the Class Blog I have been having my students do Studio Labs … not really related to the IST curriculum, a Studio Lab asks them to utilize digital media to communicate ideas or solutions. So far, I have gotten great feedback from students on these … they just seem to love the concept and freedom to be creative. This week they turn in their most ambitious project yet — interviews with selected faculty members within the School. I couldn’t think of a better way for my students to understand the interdisciplinary nature of the research going on within IST. I will be posting pointers to these as well.

The last thing I am focusing on is the assessment of the digital media activities … again, another study is in the works that I hope will provide a framework for building digital media into curricula that isn’t focused on media. In other words, maybe create some sort of a roadmap, working guidelines, and data points for building digital expression into ALL subjects. I’ll post results, so stay tuned!

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