Thursday, October 12, 2006

ten minute mid-term check-in

Can it really be nearly six weeks since I've blogged? Not that I haven't been completely wrapped up in the blogosphere, but it seems that reading through and commenting on three sections of student blogs has taken away from my own blogging time.

In the past week or so it seems that my students are really lagging behind with their posting. They are either not posting at all, or their posts are not as developed as they were in the beginning. I talked to them about this today in class. I also asked them for (anonymous...well except for the results of the handwriting analysis) feedback on the class in general. A few of the students say they are experiencing problems with Flock, so today in class I decided to have everyone post their freewrite to their blog, so I could double check these issues and try to help out. For the most part the issues seem to be either sporadic--as in, they can post *most* of the time, but not always and for seemingly no reason--or just inexplicable. I have one student running PocketFlock and has been since the second week of the semester, and suddenly now it is running incredibly slowly--not loading his RSS feeds properly, making it really difficult for him to comment on the blogs of his peers. Other students have had trouble with Flock freezing or not opening at all. Ultimately it seems as though I may have reconsider the use of Flock in future semesters.

Aside from Flock, the feedback about the blogging portion of the class has been really, really mixed. I'm trying to be okay with this, but I'm just not sure I'm reaching enough of the students with this one. I find it a valuable project and have tried to articulate that to them, though not all of them seem to see it that way. And I actually really enjoy reading what they have to say. Again, Dave has said that about 80% seem invested, and I want to be okay with that percentage. I want to say that with that percentage, I would do this all again. But the divide between those who LOVE it and are invested and those who HATE it and find it incredibly stressful is HUGE. This weekend I'm sending out e-mails to individual students who seem to be strugging, with the hope of offering advice to get everyone on track (again).

Other than that, I'm thrilled to say that I received numerous requests for MORE in-class freewriting. Not a problem. Coming right up!

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