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Ecampus and Use of Blogs

  October 5th, 2011

Hey Everyone

I haven’t read anyone else’s blog posts yet, and hope there’s not much in the way of redundancy here.

While nothing beats face to face interaction with a student, I do enjoy teaching within the online environment. One of the reasons has to do with that lack of interaction. Specifically, how to overcome it. Students can hide quite easily, and I enjoy reaching out to them via general announcements and individual emails. I’ve called students as well, which on some occasions has shocked them. For the most part, they have enjoyed this effort to welcome them and encourage their involvement.  

Coming into this training, I’ve considered myself fairly competent with regard to Blackboard navigation and overall use. I’m immediately reminded that I’ve kept things fairly simple in the online courses taught so far, which has its benefits for the student user. They don’t need to work too hard when trying to find presentations, assignments, assigned readings, etc.

On the other hand, maintaining the status quo can make things a bit stagnant, and perhaps I need to challenge myself a bit more when designing courses. There are other tools I should start to use, including blogs and journals.

Regarding those blogs,  I’m still not quite sure what the difference is between a blog and a Discussion Board Forum. I’ve definitely gotten used to using the Discussion Board for student interaction, but have a slight hunch it’s perceived as archaic by some students. Kind of like insisting on using a VCR when everyone else has moved on to streaming video. Does anyone else have an opinion on Discussion Board vs. Blog?

I plan on using blogs in the future, but am not certain if I should use it as a replacement for the Discussion Board, as a supplement, or something completely different.  Thanks all.

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9 Responses to “Ecampus and Use of Blogs”

  1. Dave, this is such an insightful post. I think there are quite a few overlaps between discussion forums and blogs, but there are some significant differences, too — in fact, I think you identified some of them in the way you categorized this post! Other thoughts on this, all?

    By the way — loved your comment about calling students on the phone. Do you remember those old phone company commercials, “Reach out and touch someone?”

    Comment by Shannon Riggs - October 6th, 2011 @ 8:05 am
  2. Dave,
    I am a hobbyist and I actually read some blogs on blogspot and wordpress websites. As a result I associate blogs with leisure and discussion board with classes and instruction. So, it took me some stop, deep breath and a change of pace to realize that this is a blog, but this is a blog that I participate in as a professional at work. A little different for me. I think some students’ experiences may be similar to mine, but of course, as many bloggers would say, “your mileage may vary”.

    Comment by Olga Rowe - October 6th, 2011 @ 9:03 am
  3. I used to have a blog – well, I still do, but I rarely post there anymore, because I do not have the time — and I guess I don’t have the time to think up really interesting thoughtful engaging reflections that anyone would want to read. So, the blog languishes, and instead I post little things on FB.

    But… back in the days when I was blogging, I participated in OSU’s Pilot Blog project, and created a blog for my on-campus WR 222 Argumentation class. It was on WordPress in those days, not the new blog feature in Blackboard (which I haven’t yet tried — have you??) — and the maintenance of the site took work. Actually the students did a great job, I thought, posting thoughtful, content-rich, ideas and suggestions, so imagine my surprise on the end of term evaluations when most said that they had not really enjoyed the blog and thought it was a waste of time. It seems to me, from the blogs I do follow, that the typical writers and readers are over 20, not so much in their teens. What is your experience with that?

    So, I try to make Disc Board somewhat bloggy and fun for students, and I keep thinking maybe I’ll try the new blog feature here sometime.

    Thanks for an interesting post!

    Comment by Sara Jameson - October 6th, 2011 @ 7:28 pm
  4. I used a blog for my music history course last year (on campus). The students wanted to ignore it and none of them ever talked to each other about specific posts. They just posted facts about the music they listened to (I was trying to treat it like a public listening journal).My hope was that they would feel more accountable to write something interesting. No one really mentioned the blog in class and students started to randomly post in the wrong weeks (which made tracking their posts quite difficult and cumbersome).

    I had hopes for the blog and still do but I think I didn’t run it correctly.

    I was more excited that I was offering this technology but the students didn’t seem to want it.



    Comment by reasonmd - October 7th, 2011 @ 7:28 am
  5. Dana, this is interesting. I’d like to hear more about what you mean by public listening journal. Is this just using blogs to share music files with others?

    Comment by Shannon Riggs - October 7th, 2011 @ 11:01 am
  6. Thanks for your comments everyone. It’s heartening to know that others share the same concerns I do about blogging.

    Comment by stemperd - October 10th, 2011 @ 9:55 am
  7. interesting that you mention that you sometimes call students — Dr. Jean Mandernach (Psychology) presented at our Ecampus Faculty Forum a few years ago and she did a little research with this idea. She called all of her students one term and just ‘checked in with them’. Besides being “absolutely floored”, those students also reported increased satisfaction with the instructor/learning experience and they actually reported that they believed they ‘learned more’ than students in other terms who hadn’t received a call.

    Comment by Karen Watte - October 10th, 2011 @ 11:14 am
  8. Thanks for sharing this David. I have called students and even one term required that they call me to discuss their project proposals over the phone. They were nervous, as you say, but I sensed that hearing my voice was the same for them as it was for me. Speaking is a lot more flexible than the written word. Their responses were good and felt that the help was meaningful and fit their needs better.
    Thanks to you too Karen for the info!

    Comment by Beverly Nelson - October 10th, 2011 @ 2:27 pm
  9. awesome article, thank you!

    Comment by Dotty Besser - September 25th, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

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