What I noticed was that the students had a much more difficult time having a quality “conversation” online than in person. Many of the blogs and the responses were shallow and uninteresting, especially compared to the deep dialogues we had in class. Students who participated a lot in class were often quiet online. Students who were remarkably insightful in seminar were unusually bland on the blog. What I discovered probably should have been obvious, but blogging at home and talking in class are very different.
We had to spend a lot of time clarifying that the purpose of the blog was to extend our amazing conversations in deep and meaningful ways. I identified the good bloggers and recruited them to act as monitors to help keep the online conversations provocative, robust, and useful. We created polls, added supplemental graphics and visuals, and included links to keep participants engaged in better online thinking behaviors.
A big part of improving our online conversations was focusing on quality instead of quantity. Originally, I required high school students to blog daily, thinking they would enjoy it, but they quickly became indifferent, so we eventually settled on two contributions per week.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish