Jim Sullivan suggests that we consider the following question in our blog posts this week:
“What might be the advantages and disadvantages of using a class blog or student blogs for your class?”
I have enjoyed the blogging aspect of potcert. And I thought Lisa’s and Jim’s videos were interesting and informative. Lisa’s video was a useful overview of blogging for courses (I liked the chart), and Jim’s provided good examples of applications. (Honestly, I did wonder whether it would have been useful to see these vids earlier, say soon after we started with all of this blogging stuff, but then again those of us new to blogging, which includes me, may not have been ready for that much information without some experience first).
All of this has made me think about incorporating blogging into my courses, replacing the discussion board aspect of them (which as I’ve noted previously, I’ve never been very good at pulling off anyway). And I have been considering using a blog instead of an LMS in order to do so. In thinking about this, I have indeed considered the advantages and disadvantages of blogs and blogging.
I think the advantages are fairly clear. When we blog, we have a good bit more freedom of what to say, how to say it, to whom to say it, etc. than when we respond to a prompt. We have to think more about what we are saying than when we respond to a prompt (at least I think we do). It’s sustained writing. It’s creative writing. It’s reflective writing. And if we don’t do it in an LMS, then it’s out there for the world to see (should it want to look, that is). And I like all of this. I also like that I can respond to those posts that I find particularly interesting and that I’m not forced to comment on a specific prompt, whether I have anything to say about it or not.
The advantages are also the disadvantages. I wonder whether blogging too “me-centered” and not “idea or topic centered” or “discussion-centered” enough. I wonder about what I’m missing after I’ve responded to 10 or so blogs and am just “done,” when I don’t have time or energy to cull through all of the comments. I wonder whether, because there is so much freedom, we really ever advance the conversation. It is easy to miss a thought in a post or comment and then post the idea again as if it were a new one. Are we getting anywhere or just spinning our wheels? Are we getting there together? Is that important?
Freedom, creation, reflection, interest. Those are big things. They may well outweigh the disadvantages. But the disadvantages certainly are worthy of consideration.