If you click on the blog link, you will notice lots of recent posts. After I taught the course, my former PhD supervisor, Mela Sarkar, who is counting down the years to retirement but has not stopped growing as an educator, has taken over the course and with it, the blog. So, now there are two editions of the blog (Fall 2016; Winter 2019), on the same site. Will there be a third edition? The suspense is immense.
To help you get oriented to the beginning of the blog, here is the link to the first post.
The blogging assignment made up 30% of the final grade. I asked students to write about connections between what we were reading or talking about in class and their experiences teaching or learning a second language.
They each had to write three posts any time over the 13 weeks of the semester (6% each = 24%). There was also a small percentage (6%) of the grade for blog engagement; that is, commenting on at least six other blog posts. I didn’t evaluate the content of the comments – if they posted 6 times, they got 6 marks. A lot of the students commented more than 6 times and many of their comments were longer than the blog posts, but they were always constructive (e.g., suggesting new resources).
As the teacher, I also participated in the blog and wrote 3 posts during the term. I tried to comment on all the blog posts. This was a lot to keep up with, but I loved it because I learned so much from their writing. I kept up with all 37 of the students and their posts until the end of term crunch.
For technical support, I provided students with instructions on how to submit a blog post, how to embed media, and how to post comments (see blog posting instructions). To my surprise, there were no tech questions along the way.
I set the blog up so I was the editor of the blog. Students submitted their posts to me and then I published them. This allowed me to ensure that there was never anything inappropriate published on the course blog (it was never an issue).
When we started the term and I introduced the blog assignment, I wasn’t sure if we would find an audience beyond the class cohort. Over the 13 weeks of the course, we published 113 blog posts and almost 400 comments. By the end of the course, there were over 5000 hits on the blog from 37 countries (as of the date of publication of the 2018 article, there were over 11,000 hits). I think it is fair to say that we did indeed find an audience.
What does that mean for the learning experience of the students who contributed to the blog?