Blogging Your Way to Information Literacy
Conference Booklet Description: “In every class discussion there are students who have great ideas, but who don’t feel comfortable expressing them in class. How can you draw these students in? A class blog can be a forum to encourage discussion and exchange outside of regular class sessions, as well as an easily updated web presence for general class information. I’ve been surprised and excited to see what my students have posted and I plan to continue using this excellent tool to enable open communication with my students – find out how I (and they) did it, and bring your own ideas and questions to share!”
My Thoughts: This session discussed a blog created for a 7 week Information Literacy course. The librarian wanted to encourage more student interaction and therefore required students to post a total of three times throughout the course. This participation grade was counted into their final grade. The librarian liked the blog because it helped reticent students speak up on their own terms, created a more relaxed environment and because he could post the assignments and syllabus directly on the blog, the students had no excuse not to hand in their work. The quality and quantity of class participation increased, as well as the linking ability to the outside world.
There is a whole listing of the University of Albany blogs available here. Some of them look really interesting. One thing I liked about the blog this librarian created for his class was the fact that he inserted a Meebo widget so that students could IM him. He said that having this option available on the blog resulted in more than a few long conversations with his students.
One thing that I started thinking about as I was going through this session was the relaxed language students tend to use in a blog environment. I know sometimes I lapse in my own blog, using slang terms or words that I would never dream of including in a term paper. When we were going through the blog example for this librarian’s class, I could catch glimpses of the students actual writing, and saw phrases like “you’d be screwed” and “ppl” (people). One of the benefits many people are touting regarding class blogs is the increased use of writing in courses that aren’t necessarily writing intensive. However, if the writing is informal, does it still count? Are blogs going to help, or just encourage students to use slang and not proofread? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?