I have writing about blogging. I have been reading about blogging. I have been reading blogs, and I have been writing blogs , and comments on blogs. I can hardly imagine my professional life before, or without blogs.
That last statemnet is not entirely true, but it is not far from the truth. The more in-depth my analysis of the blogs for my thesis becomes, the more convinced I am of the far-ranging benefits of blogging. One stumbling block that several students have commented on is that they all took time to come to understand the benefits of blogging on their studies. Since I am currently teachng an introductory course, I may not get many of my students hooked beofre they disappear into someone else's class who will then blog with them and be amazed at their blogging talents, developed in my class! Oh well, it is all for the good.
I am going to include an excerpt from one of my student interview analyses. I don't think the brief quotes and the psuedonym are a breach of confidentiality.
Dana initially used her blog in support of her e-portfolio project, stating that, ?at first we were required to do it.? However, she soon turned to other uses: ?But then we used it just for having fun or for our e-folio. We posted comments and topics, different topics.? She mentions how blogging helped students to share, saying that, ?It gives students a place to express opinions and what they think about something.? She feels that the blog allowed more than one purpose to be served: ?We used the blog for the e-folio but in the same time we were communicating and talking to others.? Dana then differentiates between uses of the posts and the comments, stating that, ?The post topics were more for the e-folio and the comments on our friends? topics were more for fun and for chatting.?
She notes that they used the comments more for fun and chatting, but often that was where the real interaction took place. Even a very innocuous, and short comment often was interpreted with great menaing upon which students acted, changing the design of their blog and correcting spelling and grammar mistakes.
As I review blogs from this year, I am adding comments and reading the comments of other students. Not only are students motivated by comments on their own posts, but they are motivated by comments on each others' posts. If one student has two or three comments and another has none, then the student with the comments will end up with five or six, and the other will still have none. My efforts to balance this out with comments does not seem to help. Perhaps it is uncool to get comments from the teacher!