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Why is this so scary?

  October 6th, 2011

Now, normally I’m a “fools jump in” type of person, but I have to confess this blog post idea took me back a bit: I felt a bit vulnerable just going for it and posting without complete crystal guidelines as to what I meant to be doing, so I was glad when Olga (thanks Olga!) asked for some more guidelines on what we should be posting about. And this comes from me, one of the “Gen-Y kids” who should be totally all over “new” (I guess blogging has been around for a while now) technology!

It turns out being given too much freedom of scope for an assignment can be a scary proposition for a student! This was an important lesson for me: if I find not having an explicit set of guidelines for an “assignment” difficult, than how would undergrads feel if I did the same to them?



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4 Responses to “Why is this so scary?”

  1. Alana,
    thank you! I could sign my name under every word of your first sentence. I truly needed some guidelines on the blog post. As a sociologist who is interested in education I noticed that the freedom of choice to form your educational experience the way you like it is appreciated when a person already feels comfortable in the area. When a person doesn’t, clear directions make sense and are appreciated. The blog assignment gave me a chance to experience this firsthand rather than observe it in other learners.

    Comment by Olga Rowe - October 7th, 2011 @ 9:01 am
  2. Alana and Olga, thanks for these comments. I really appreciate this feedback and will definitely keep this in mind should we repeat this workshop again in the future, as I hope we do.

    Comment by Shannon Riggs - October 7th, 2011 @ 11:06 am
  3. Hi Shannon,

    I actually kind of think you should keep it the same! It was a really important lesson to me on how guidelines can actually be more helpful than restrictive for some students. As Olga said, the students that were already comfortable with blogging probably would not have a problem with open-ended instructions. Maybe a good idea for my class assignments may be to provide optional additional guidelines for the students who would like additional encouragement. I thought this was an excellent learning experience for me!


    Comment by alexaala - October 7th, 2011 @ 11:57 am
  4. Alana – I think your point about this assignment being too open ended is right on point. I’d never set up a discussion board or a blog and tell students to just jump in and comment. You get too many unrelated and unfocused ideas. In my discussion boards I always set up threads to cover distinct areas for discussion. It’s easier for the students to focus their thoughts and it’s easier for me to grade.

    Comment by fingers - October 9th, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

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