Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Encouraging students to blog for class...and beyond

A report from the field....

Traveling home is a good opportunity to catch up with posts made by fellow #rhizo15  participants. It's also a good time to read books and articles. I thought that for this commute I would go to rhizo because Latour is taking forever to make his point in the Actor-Network Theory book I am reading for another rhizo project.

I just read a post, by fellow participation, on blogging for class (darned link won't post in this mobile blogging app...) which for me thinking. For the courses I design I have an activity each week which serves as formative evaluation for the course but also serves as an opportunity for some reflection and introspection on the part of the learner. This is usually done as a quiz at the end of the week, but I am thinking of giving learners the option to blog about thus, this having something more free form.
I don't want to give extra points if it's done as a blog (perhaps a special badge for the bloggers could work). I don't want this activity to be a drag or for it to be mechanical. That's not what reflection is about. I also don't want the blogs to be abandoned after class, as so many class blogs seem to be (I was the edublogs admin at my school before my current job). 

How do you incentivize learners to go on this blogging journey? Sticks are not allowed, but some carrots are - keeping in mind that external rewards only work so far, and long term their absence can backfire (thank you hedonic treadmill!). So my goal with blogging, for the learners, is to encourage them to  continue to reflect and engage with learning beyond the duration of the course.  A class blog, with many contributors, is an approach, but it doesn't really lend itself to long term blogging. The blog, in this case, continues to live but the blog belongs to the class and not the learner.

As a side note, anyone know of a good blogging app that works with blogger on Android? The default app is marginal...

edit:
Updated the post with an image - also here is the link to the blog that got me thinking...
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