Friday, February 18, 2011

Thoughts on Blogging

First let me apologize for the late post.  I was under the impression that the only assignment we had was the post on Thinkfinity.  A few words of wisdom, "pay attention to the deadlines tab".  

This is my first time blogging but I think it's a very interesting tool. It really gives you to opportunity to express yourself within an open forum in a very simple way. Students today are on Facebook and Twitter more than ever, attempting to have their ideas reach a larger network and this is another tool to accomplish just that. It makes this tool appealing and provides an avenue for articulating ideas to peers.

My difficulty with blogging comes from the type of interactions plan to have with students. While blogging seems great and user friendly for expressing ideas, I didn't see how this can be expanded to all out of class environments for students in college (my research area). The article by Nardi et. al (2004) helped me think of some ideas. Authors describe 5 main motivations for blogging (1) documenting one's life; (2) providing commentary and opinions; (3) expressing deeply felt emotions; (4) articulating ideas through writing; and (5) forming and maintaining community forums." (pg. 43) One of the learning environments that struck me when reading this was apprenticeship roles (ie. Internships and cooperative learning positions). One of the difficulties experienced by the departments in the School of Engineering is tracking the relevance of these positions and understanding what the students are learning. How great would it be to require students to keep a weekly blog on their learning experiences and the relationships between industry and their engineering discipline?

I also thought about the use of blogs to encourage students who are in retention/intervention programs to keep weekly blogs that help guide their required sessions with academic counselors. By consistently articulating their experiences, difficulties, and successes I believe support services can do a better job of providing the help that students require. Does this sound a little farfetched? Can we place that much responsibility on a counselor to manage? I can't answer that questions, but I have a strong feeling that by asking students to track their experiences they can begin to self access their needs as well.

Last point, I promise. The incorporation of formulas and equation tool options would also help make blogs more applicable to the STEM fields. If this is an outlet for articulating ideas, maybe the same can be done in the STEM fields by encourage innovation on some type of blog application.