Interactivism: Using Blogs to Transform the Writing Classroom


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Interactivism: Using Blogs to Transform the Writing Classroom

  1. 1. Transforming Writing Instruction through Blogging Analysis of a Class Blog
  2. 2. Goals of the Class <ul><li>Collaborative Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Emergent Pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>Audience Awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Writing as conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding of blogging </li></ul>
  3. 3. Basic setup <ul><li>Freshman seminar </li></ul><ul><li>2 sections, 30 students total </li></ul><ul><li>Class blog (everyone contributed in the same place) </li></ul><ul><li>No set assignments or topics </li></ul><ul><li>No set requirements for blogging </li></ul><ul><li>Formal papers derived from posts </li></ul><ul><li>Portfolio </li></ul>
  4. 4. Some numbers <ul><li>500 blog posts; 1250 comments </li></ul><ul><li>265,000 total words (about 700 pages) </li></ul><ul><li>9,000 words per student (about 23 pages on the blog alone) </li></ul><ul><li>By October, averaging 250-300 visits per day </li></ul><ul><li>Over 50% of visitors from off campus </li></ul>
  5. 5. Correlations - .438 .827 .659 Links Comm Rec’d Comm Made Posts .438 .827 .659 Links - .275 .863 Comm Rec’d .275 - .548 Comm Made .863 .548 - Posts
  6. 6. Posts and Comments Received <ul><li>Top posters received 4 comments per post on average </li></ul><ul><li>Comment threads in many cases developed into conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Top posters/commenters responded to comments received </li></ul>
  7. 7. Comments Made and Links <ul><li>Those with more links were more widely read and interested in adding to conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Making comments usually led to receiving comments (self-promotion) </li></ul><ul><li>Desire for the blog project to work </li></ul>
  8. 8. It’s all about linking <ul><li>The one factor that affected portfolio grades was linking: the more links, the higher the grade </li></ul><ul><li>The top 5 posters averaged at least two and as many as 4 links per post </li></ul><ul><li>Wide range of topics </li></ul><ul><li>Models </li></ul><ul><li>Sources well integrated </li></ul><ul><li>Audience awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Complex arguments </li></ul><ul><li>More practice </li></ul><ul><li>More feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Learned more about their own writing </li></ul>
  9. 9. Audience: Before <ul><li>“ All I thought was my professor’s going to be reading this.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I was writing probably to myself . . . Because I didn’t know who I should talk to.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I really couldn't get out of the idea that we weren't just writing for our teachers.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I really didn't think that anyone outside our class and maybe their parents who had been told about the project would be reading the blog.” </li></ul>
  10. 10. Audience: after <ul><li>“ Nothing happened until we got an audience. It’s all about the audience.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I tried harder to write blogs with more mass appeal. . . . thought that if the topics had to do with news on a national level or topics that everyone could relate to, then more people would want to read them and I would draw in more readers.” </li></ul>
  11. 11. Audience: After <ul><li>“ When I realized that other people were gonna be reading this, I began to think of what other people's perspectives were, like what are they coming from, what are they expecting to see and things like that.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I was writing to an audience that was interested in the same topic.” </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>“ Bloggers not only passively read the news, but also write posts, make comments, and create links. They get actively involved. This vigorous participation makes the ‘web’ look like a real web, a chain of connected sites. The absence of involvement makes the web look like a set of unrelated dots. You can only see the dots; you cannot see the whole picture unless the dots are connected.” </li></ul>Overall experience