More reflections on the year . . . Watching the students as they undertake blogging is always interesting. Some dive in. Others just do not know what to make of it.
When I speak with my students about the blogging experience, a few universal sentiments surface about the pros and cons of blogging. For instance, this evening in their final lab experience of the semester, I posed the ‘pros/cons’ question to my graduating seniors. Their sentiments are:
- interacting with practitioners they would likely never meet
- exposure to new technology and ideas
- practical application of blogging, and putting tactics into play for clients, is appealing
- developing online strategies and performing the implementation yourself is seen as valuable
- talking about something is one thing, traditional lecture classes, versus “doing it” is preferred
- the experiential learning experience makes a deeper impression and retention of the material is stronger and longer, according to the students
- time consuming, it can be overwhelming
- technology may be intimidating – even confusing – for some people
- learning curve is seen as steep, by some
- feeling unsure of one’s self, the idea of blogging your thoughts and opinions for the whole world to see (and perhaps critique) is a little intimidating, too
I, of course, see those perceived obstacles as opportunities. The “technology is scary and confusing” part is simply a myth that needs to be debunked. Using CMS is not very hard, really. But, that is another story.
Nonetheless, all of the observations above (and many others) have driven me to up the ante. I will be giving the blogging aspect much more structure and it will account for a greater percentage of their final grade. I can talk to them about reading and taking the risk of commenting in blogs. I can discuss various posts that others have made and what it may mean to their future careers. But, it does not always get through. This year, the process will have very specific requirements beyond two posts and two comments a week in their blogs and MarcomBlog.com.
The idea of making the blog an addition to their online portfolios will be stressed like never before. And, instead of making Web pages, their blogs will be turned into a full blown site featuring everything they have created in the past: resume, work samples, style & design projects, writing samples, research samples (surveys and more) will be included in the site.
More to come …