What I’ve been doing

Posted: January 13, 2009 in Brainstorm, School

I feel I should put some kind of prep entry. The new semester starts a week from today, after all. There are a few things I need to talk about from last semester, and then I need to berate myself for not working harder over break.

First things first. While I presented on the idea of using PowerPoint in the composition classroom, and did so without actually using powerpoint (I was the only person not to, and I wore a shirt that said ‘irony’ for my own edification), the advice of my professor led me to a complete overhaul and a change of focus for my proposal.

While it was frustrating to have to change so much so fast, the changing was pretty simple, once I latched on to the new idea. Instead of how PowerPoint is used for teaching, I changed the focus to how class blogs are used. Once again I can speak a bit from experience, having been in classes where blogs are used particularly well and in classes where they exist but are largely ignored.

More importantly, it was easier finding research and feeling comfortable about the whole thing with blogs. So I changed that focus. I may still pursue that project in the future, in which case it will need some refinement. But Thinking back to my experiences, I have seen blogs used successfully in three major ways:

  1. Everyone comments on the readings, allowing out of class discussion.
  2. Use the blog partially for discussion of reading, but mostly for discussion of projects, asking questions, presenting examples, etc.
  3. Personal blogs about the readings (like this one).

I’m curious whether it is more or less effective to require participation as part of a grade. I think in some classes, you need that requirement, but I wonder if there are others where it can be waived.

There’s definitely a lot there that can be mined for later projects. Now we move on to my berating myself. I said I was going to work on my paper, and I have yet to do so. I may still manage to do it over the next seven days, but I should have been working much more diligently. I DID extend a paper I wrote for last semester, polish it, and send it for potential publication. But in all honesty, that ws a single day’s work. I’m proud of the paper, and I have high hopes for it, but one day of good work does not make up for an entire break spent doing essentially nothing.

Hopefully I’ll be able to pull my motivation back together before the semester starts. If not, the first week or so is going to be very rough.

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