Blogs2, A Blogging Contradiction, Computers & Writing 2009

Alison Witte, IUPU Fort Wayne

I am not a technology-savvy person. I wanted to try something different.

Start a blog for my class. Not just going to jump into this. What else are people doing? How are they setting them up? How are they organizing?

I’ll do some planning.

What is a blog supposed to do? Professional writing blogs. blogs on blogging.

“an easily created, easily updateable website that allows an author… to publish instantly on the Internet” (Richardson 17)
decided that they should be responding to something
people should be reading and responding to it

I found some blogs that are very active.
This is what I wanted. I want them to be angry. I want them to be writing to each other.

pop culture in my classes

Multi-textual,

Want them to be engaged within this. In-depth engagement.

Started with some basic Google searches. Looking at composition blogs. None with student writing on them.

What? How did she find? How did she see these? She didn’t find Davis English, obviously.

What are people doing with these class blogs? Why are they out there? What are they putting them on there?

Looked for first year composition class
10 or more posts
school location and size
currently active and being updated

When were you looking? Because during summer, mine are not active right now, but are up. What time was she doing this?

Findings
Instructor assignment post
labeled as assignment or prompts
Many of them were for assignments that weren’t on the blog.
Quizzes
This was the most dominant thing that I found.

Administrative posts
General class announcements
due dates, class schedule changes

Responses to students’ posts
responses or comments to others’ posts

Original student posts
responses to instructor’s prompts
unprompted thoughts or questions

Results
4 of 9 were completely administrative
other 5, second most imp thing was classroom administrative post
5 of 9 were original post dominated
1 blog contained posts from students in its main visible feed
all lacked interaction between the posts
More like a bulletin board rather than a conversation.
No one was doing anything with it.

Conclusions
visible blogs seem to be primarily admin
blogs in comp classes are not encouraging responsive, interactive student writing
Blogs are not encouraging the non-classroom blogging practices and skills of responding to other participants, responding to other texts, or linking to other texts.

Suggestions
Have blogs where everyone is posting
Requires posts and comments on course content and student writing
blog about blogs
write a hybrid blog
– combine a collaborative, administrative blog with links to individual student blogs
– let them use them as spaces for writing, research

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