My students' first blogging assignment is simply to create their blog. The assignment is now posted. I'm hoping it is not too rudimentary, but of my sixty students only around three or four of them have ever blogged before.
Today at the end of class I was talking to a student about blogging, while the next class was coming in (not sure what class it was). The instructor overheard me and asked if I am using the new blogging feature in Blackboard. I told him no, that we're using wordpress. He proceeded to tell me a bit about the new BB feature. I told him that I am familiar with it, and that it is "quite nice." Why did I say that? I don't think it's "quite nice." I think it limits student creativity and that the money could be better spent elsewhere. Finally I said to him, in barely a whisper, that I'm opposed to Blackboard/proprietary software in general. I whispered as if I have to keep my class plans and pedagogical philosophies on the "down-low." But when I read things like this, I can't help but worry. I mean I've never received explicit instructions from CSR to use only their server/software, but then again it just seems to be assumed that EVERYONE at CSR uses BB. The entire campus community uses it to communicate. Using BB has just become so naturalized. It's frustrating. And it's ridiculous to feel like I need to sneak around to give my students an open source model of education and to simply give them some amount of creative control over their blogs (which BB gives them none).