Posted by: shineonali | March 4, 2011

How’s It Going?

My goal for course #5 has been to improve the quality and quantity of blog posts and comments in our our online classroom community.  I want the students to see their blogs as a way to share and interact with each other, rather than only a format for completing assignments.

Strategy #1: Slice of Life Story Challenge

This has helped to increase the regularity of posts students are putting on their own blogs.  Every C day, the challenge is given, to be completed by the next E day.  Alone, this doesn’t do much except to make sure that there are new posts each week.  Since the students have a lot of choice over topic, there is an added curiosity…the potential for students to build “followers” in the class if they consistently write interesting stories.

Strategy #2: Commenting Time in Class

However, I have tried to dedicate time once a week, usually the day after Slice of Life Stories are due, for students to read and comment on each others’ blogs.  I keep it relaxed–rather than emphasizing qualities of a good comment, I am interested in students taking genuine interest in what their classmates are saying.  I would like the comments to feel conversational…and I’m beginning to see it, here and here.  Once they develop the habit of commenting, then we can look at what a “friendly” comment versus a more “academic” comment might look like.

Strategy #3: Increased Interaction on Class Blog

To tell the truth, I keep forgetting to post questions and ask students to answer in a comment.  I did it here, but they replied because I asked them to.  I get 21 comments every time we host the Slice of Life Story Challenge…and that definitely forces the students to visit more often.  I have also tried to post more videos and “extras” that we don’t all look at together in class.  For example, this blog post with a run on sentence video.  The point was to get them to visit the blog in order to do the “homework” of watching it; I threw in a couple of photos of incorrect signs–they were not part of the assignment–but this post generated most spontaneous comments ever! (I was a bit concerned at some of the incorrect “corrections”, but that’s a lesson for another day!)

Next Steps

I will continue with the above, and then I want to get students involved with online chat.  I think it will help them to build their communication skills online.  We’ll do this in conjunction with reading, in which we already participate in book clubs.  So hopefully we can influence and improve the discussion quality both orally and online!  More to come later…


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