If asynchronous forums lead to overly formalised peer discussion, is blogging just more of the same?
My opinion on the standard VLE forums is that they are not fit for purpose. Their sluggish nature discourages spontaneity and genuine conversation. Course designers can completely ignore how students will use them and ask them to post long responses to questions. Long posts don’t get meaningful replies for a variety of reasons and so this approach is essentially asking students to perform a monologue that will go unheard. Probably.
In a face-to-face classroom, genuine discussions can be had, students will chat informally but on task. The teacher won’t be listening to them all and won’t be trying to get them to reply in a constrained way (“talk to your peers using 200 words or less”).
I started this WordPress blog in April, at the beginning of lockdown. My intention was to blog highly thought-provoking and articulate posts that the word of ed tech would find incredibly useful and wise. A tall order I am sure you will agree, and the pressure of this is probably what led to me only posting 3 times up until today.
So many students and academics blogs are well written, full of useful citations and insights. You can tell a lot of thought, time and effort goes into them. This adds to the pressure.
What I really want is a place to reflect on what I am reading and learning in an informal way. As I write this post I realise this blog can be whatever I want it to be. If I want to post uncited musings then I can.
And that’s what I’ve done.