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fredag 9 december 2011

On the quality of the content on this blog!

We had a "gripe session" (course evaluation) in the middle of this week. That was great, but there was only just enough time to document your complaints/suggestions and not really enough time to actually discuss them. So I will take the opportunity to discuss one specific point that was raised (and I might post a couple of more things later, i.e. even after the course is finished and not the least because I realized I can point next year's students to these specific blog posts).

The issue about the quality of the blog posts here was raised by some of you. Some thought that people sometimes just posted "random stuff I found on the web" here and that "quality" is/should be more important that "quantity". Which I of course agree about. The only guidelines you have had about the purpose of this blog and about what "fits" here were these instructions. In hindsight, I should obviously (?) have specified that you also have to "frame" your blog posts, i.e. not just post a link to [something], but also write something about why that [something] is of interest to you, why you think it is/should be of interest to your classmates, how it connects to the course (for example to lectures or seminar discussions) and so on.

Now, since Sara herself has exemplified this phenomenon by referring to her own blog post, I will do so too. I thought the picture was hilarious. In fact, I forwarded it to all the teachers at Media Technology. But before I sent it I felt I had to write something in order for them to understand why I thought the message was important/funny/pertinent for them. So I wrote:

"Picked up by a student of mine (in my course about social media) and containing some deep truths about our problems with viscerally understanding the reality of mediated relationships on the Internet:"

In hindsight I would of course have wished that you all would have done something similar before you posted stuff here. One thoughtful sentence can be all it takes to reframe something from "random stuff I found on the Internet" to "random stuff that I found on the Internet and that relates to this course because...".

That's something for me to think about for next year's course (if we decide to keep this blog going for one more year - the other possibility is of course to abandon the blog or to replace it with something else).

4 kommentarer:

  1. I have found this blog very enjoying because you get so much interesting tips about social media and now especially when i'm taking this course i like to read and watch things about it because then i feel that it's not just a course i'm taking but a subject that i am interested in and that i'm sharing with other like minded. So therefore i think it should stay.

    I agree with you though and i have felt the same thing sometimes that maybe it becomes to much about just posting a link to a text or a video without writing your opinion or a question that can be discussed and that makes it harder for the reader to comment in my opinion. So that is one way for us to improve the blog although sometimes i like just watching or reading stuff without the need to discuss about it. Maybe there is room for both?

    I was thinking also about the demands and involving the examination in this blog. Maybe it's better to just leave it out of the examination and let the ones who really are interested participate because they want to. Then people probably only would post if they really got something interesting to say. On the other hand in this world of getting information brought directly to you we maybe need you to tell us to do it. If that is the case then one way might be to not tell us to do X number of posts or comments but rather only comments if people want more discussions on the blog. People would then have to make posts to have something to comment on but also comment on each others posts and hopefully creating more discussions. The comments must add value though just as the instructions told us.

  2. Yes, it's a tough one, isn't it. But just letting the ones who really are interested participate in my experience doesn't work. It's just as simple as that. Do note that I wrote "in my experience" and not "in my opinion" and this is based on last year's course. The invitation/requirement to write was a reaction to what happened on the blog last year (i.e. not much) - and on the whole I'm a lot happier with results this year compared to last year...

    Now, I have not been to sure myself that "forcing" people to participate is the best way to go about, but I on the other hand don't loose any sleep over it - posting three times in more twice as many weeks shouldn't be an insurmountable obstacle for any university student...

  3. I still would stick with opinion that quality not quantity is what counts. From my point of view the reason why we ended up with quantity not quality with this blog actually was first of all the fact that everyone tried to reach at least 3 posts. It's resulted in large activity having in mind how many students are reading the course. In the end having such flow of posts makes it rather difficult to follow all the posts. And as you have mentioned to watch all the videos of 10-20 minutes is rather big investment, especially when you do not have comments or recommendations why you should invest that time. This big flow of post I think also is the reason why we had no or only few comments for each post.
    I would have to add that instructions were not really clear as well. And to make them clearer I would not say that we needed detailed instructions what exactly should be written in each post. I assume that more emphasis that the quality not quantity what will be considered would have helped. Also I think that requirement that post should "add value" is also a bit extract, as it can be interpreted very widely. So I would say that we needed not the more detailed instructions what should be written, but more detailed explanation what will be considered as valuable contribution.
    I also think that a feedback after first posts would have helped. Just to know, if the post are going to the right direction. As I think that when you see activity in the blog, you kind of following the crowd, and posting something similar to what already posted rather looking to the assignment instructions.
    As for discussion should this activity be graded or not, have you considered possibility giving "bonus" points for the posts in the blog instead of making it part of the grade? As this is kind of middle choice: you would not force to participate, but also reward the ones who did put effort.

  4. Those are good suggestions, Ineta - you definetly get credit for them!