Two things are happening which should get me blogging more regularly again:
- I am co-facilitating the ISWO (Instructional Skills Workshop Online) – it’s an intense, 4-week online course about online facilitation. And this time, we’ve added a blogging component.
- My copy of Digital Habitats has arrived!! Awesome! (See previous post – this could be on my list of Things Awesome: “when amazon.com order arrives!”). Anyway, this book will give me lots to think about, I can tell already.
So, about the course blogging. As an instructional designer who works for a university that has a LMS (Moodle) which has a lot of great tools to support a variety of learning activities (except the blog, unfortunately, is meh) – why add an external blogging component?
There is lots written about this; I don’t need to be convinced of the educational potential of blogging. It’s more the logistics. There is an instructional design pro/con thing to weigh here – on one hand, blogs are a great tool for reflection, they have a life outside the course (i.e., the blog belongs to the blogger, they can take it with them and continue engaging in reflective practice, it evolves as they do, etc), and hopefully, people will hook into and experience the benefits of the network as they connect with other bloggers.
On the other hand, they are outside the course. This means we all need to go find the blogs, and all the discussion/sharing no longer takes place in the course/forums. Part of me says, “so what?” This happens in f2f classes – people talk and think outside of class hours (we hope). Still, the “one stop shop” argument is a strong one for busy people who want all the course stuff in one place.
However, I am confident for a few reasons:
- we have plans for making the blogs easy to find (Moodle rss block and a list)
- the blogging activity is framed as a tool for personal reflection and learning. We ask for one reflective post about their learning per week, but aside from that, they are invited to do (or not) whatever they want. And there are forums, wikis, polls, surveys, quizzes, etc, in the course for topic discussions/activities and practice facilitation by participants (the heart of the course) – so lots of reasons to be in the course.
- my experience with “required” blogging in a course (cck09) was really positive. I liked that I “had” to do it, and got a lot OUT of doing it. There is something powerful about publication of your ideas; you try a bit harder
- but MOST importantly, we have a dedicated blog steward. A live person, who is a passionate, dedicated educator who is excited and knowledgeable about blogging and PLNs, who will support the blogging activity running parallel to the course.
Can’t wait to see how it all turns out!