Today I made a second response to a commenter on this post. I’d been meaning to respond to the post for at least a week, but since I haven’t been very active with blogging lately, I hadn’t gotten around to it. The comment challenge finally gave me motivation.
In my comment to Sameer, I recommended another blogger as resource to offer suggestions about blog discussions. However, I want to respond a little more in a post. My personal experience running a “blog discussion” in class comes from last semester when I set up a class blog for my Teaching with Technology course. I used the blog for two class discussions, one on internet safety and one on copyright issues. I felt a class blog discussion would be an appropriate approach for a number of reasons.
- It extended class discussion outside of class.
- It ensured that every student participated in the discussion.
- I didn’t have to spend time teaching my students the conventions of threaded discussions (seriously, my students in the fall didn’t do well with threaded discussions).
- Multiple sections of students could participate in the same discussion.
- It modeled the use of a instructional technology that they could employ in their future classrooms.
To manage the discussion, I posted a prompt on the topic with links to certain reading materials. Then I required each student to read the prompts and the associated materials and post a response by midweek. Then I required students to revisit the conversation the day before class and respond to at least one classmate’s comment. Everyone made at least one post and the majority of students managed to make both posts. I felt that, on the whole, the quality of student discussion was good and I would use the tool again. If you are interested, you can see the discussions here and here.