Blogs as Educational Tools?

Blogs as Educational Tools?

I’m getting more and more firmly convinced that blogs are tantamount to essential in humanities classes. I believe this to be true because a) it allows students to speak in a ‘public’ forum about their readings and the lectures in a course, no matter what format the class takes, no matter how shy the student is, and no matter how many students are in the class, b) it allows the instructor/TA to read, respond to, and evaluate students critical thinking skills, understanding of the course material, and if they’re paying attention at all, c) it allows students to read and respond to each other’s opinions in a ‘democratic’ space, d) unlike reflection papers or other forms of journaling for class, the responses are not static documents that are handed from student to evaluator, but exist as individual archives of thoughts and information that are permanently available to both the student and the teacher. And that’s not even beginning to think about the possibilities of multiple-media representation within the blog. And I’m seeing all this happening within the structure of a current undergraduate class format, not as a replacement to being in class or as distance learning. I’m not sure I know how to tackle that stuff yet. Not virtual university, just virtual assignments, really.

InMOO blogging?
I never really thought about this as a positive option. Why read a blog inmoo? What’s the point? That’s just using the moo as a lens to see webpages, I don’t see blogs as particularly moo-compatible, or that there’s an benefit to blogging being moo compatible. UNLESS: what if we were to write a blogger program into the GUI? So that every char, or, say, student chars, a generic student char, would come equipped with a blog ready to use, either as an object or as a part of the player class, like mail-recipient, internal mail server, internal blogger server, and an inmoo interface for inputting posts, changing html template, and all of the rest of it. Like VASE, we could then program the blog prog to allow for instructor comments visible only to the instructor and the owner of the blog, but not anyone else; you could add the comment function, as in greymatter, for student comments on other’s blogs; you could have them linked together by class, possibly searchable by class group; we could rework the archive to sort by theme if we wanted, or time, or whatever else, have a programmable archive delineation, depending on the class….still, I’m not clear how this works as a moo function, aside from it being handy to have a blogger program that we could tweak ourselves and that would be on site. I can see then the moo becoming a kind of bridge between the work Jason and emma has been doing with VASE, the kind of project work inmoo that I’ve been thinking about, and blogging. the moo would be the structure that links all these kinds of possible projects together; straight html, as VASE projects are, or straight textmoo narrative walk-through projects that rely on the structure of an object oriented space, like mine, plus course commentary/personal reflection inblog thereby linked to to all of this via character….maybe there could be an option on the ‘look char’ that would have a ‘read my blog’ button, part of the descrip? I mean so that all these elements are bundled. I have no idea how I would explain that to someone who doesn’t know about VASE, blog, or Achieve, though. And could the blog work as straight telnet as well as html? If it did, then it would be as we’ve been talking about, really really available to a wide audience, because there would be no heavy GUI front end to deal with on a computer with little memory. Particularly if there’s a fancy GUI interface blog, as well as a text based blog input option. Like this:
@blog myblog
[Type a line of input or `@abort’ to abort the command.]
Today’s class
Blog Room

Do a ‘look’ to get the list of commands, or ‘help’ for assistance.

Composing post to Hildegarde’s blog (#21493) entitled “Today’s class”
“I had a great time today. I learned a lot.
One line added.
Your message so far:

Date: Thu Apr 5 15:13:47 2001 EDT
From: Hildegarde (#1974)
To: Hildegarde’s blog (#21493)
Subject: Today’s class

I had a great time today. I learned a lot.
Message actually sent to Hildegarde’s blog (#21493).

Oh, the possibilities….

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