Sunday, October 02, 2005

blogging for education

This afternoon I’ve been working on a new block course Living the text in a postmodern context, which I am expecting to teach at Fuller in 2006.

DRAFT: This course will explore the communication of the Biblical text in a contemporary world, with particular missiological reference to the use of the Bible in the emerging church in a postmodern context. It will explore ways to maintain the integrity of the Biblical text, applying the best of academic insights around text, community and culture, to the task of communicating the Biblical text with reference to postmodernity. The course will combine both theory and practice, believing that learning often happens through seeing new models, while new practices necessitate a shift in the under girding values. As a result of the course, students will be better equipped to read and communicate the Biblical text in a postmodern context.

Previously, I have often used journals as a form of assessment. It allows me to listen and interact with students, and allows a greater flexibility of expression than traditional essays. It has worked well.

Today I wondered about inviting students to journal, not with pen and paper, but on-line. Students could very easily be given their own course blog-site, organized by lecturer beforehand. Students would be asked to journal regularly at their own course blog-site, with a suggested number of entries (and word length suggested). Students would be assessed with particular reference to the course learning outcomes. Students could be made aware of each others “course blogs” and be encouraged to read and interact with each other¬ís journals, using comment functions.

I wonder if this would greatly increase the level of community learning and interaction. Any thoughts?

Posted by steve at 07:32 PM

8 Comments

  1. Man, I would *totally* take that class! Blogging would incorporate a very post-modern type of communication, as well as potentially create a post-modern type of community. Plus, students could be encouraged to link outside of their blog, to bring in resources that you or others don’t even know about (from their denominations or other sites they frequent).

    If students didn’t feel comfortable doing their own blog, you could create a group blog that everyone needed to contribute to – not as much pressure to come up with a lot of content when it’s a group, plus it’d be easier to get into a group discussion through centralized comments.

    Man, have fun!!!!

    Comment by Aj — October 3, 2005 @ 4:14 am

  2. I did a creative writing paper at Massey University a couple of years ago. They used a very well coordinated Writers Cafe site for students to submit their drafts and critique each others work. A certain amount of online work was needed to complete the course, but it was the element that turned the course into the most dynamic course that year. Without regular geographic-physical contact with other students using blogs or other design specific sites is great.

    p.s. Steve I think I still owe you 30 dollars for your thesis. Sorry – I’ll send a cheque (to much moving in the past few months).

    Comment by Andrew — October 3, 2005 @ 8:23 am

  3. Steve, sounds like an excellent course, and the blog idea is a very good one.

    Comment by Paul Fromont — October 3, 2005 @ 9:50 am

  4. I’ve done a couple of classes that required online interaction as part of the assessment. Part of the grade was given for just particpating, regardless of the dribble you said!

    It has all been done by email list which was ok, but it all got a bit messy trying to wade through the inbox and remove spam etc. I think the blog idea, or even a web forum, would work much better.

    Good luck with it!

    Comment by Matt Glover — October 5, 2005 @ 1:18 am

  5. This sounds like an excellent idea, Steve. In my opinion, “theology” needs to be “done” in community, not isolation; and, moreover, needs to be done by that community in public – out in the open. While blogging is arguably more of an introvert’s game than an extravert’s, I reckon it ticks both boxes – community, in public – in the context we find ourselves living in. Though some will see it as a gimmick, or something being done “just because we can,” this deserves to be piloted, and modelled for others to take up. Keep pioneering!

    Comment by Andrew Dowsett — October 5, 2005 @ 6:39 pm

  6. Yeah quality idea, if some people wanted you could maybe make it only viewable by members of the class, rather than the entire viewing public. Wouldn’t worry me, but might some people.

    Comment by Digger — October 6, 2005 @ 2:22 pm

  7. Andrew, wierd to think that people would see this as a gimmick. It’s only trying to enhance student learning.

    Comment by Steve — October 6, 2005 @ 4:34 pm

  8. Have you seen what Ryan Bolger is up to at Fuller? (I assume so!) http://thebolgblog.typepad.com/thebolgblog/2005/10/44_new_blogs_ad.html
    Might give you some ideas, though I know you’ll have plenty of your own. You might give him some…

    When I put down the thought that some will see it as a gimmick, I was only thinking in terms of there being a lot of culturally conservative Christian education/places of Christian education out there (not thinking of Fuller)…I agree with you that it enhances learning – at several levels.

    Comment by Andrew Dowsett — October 7, 2005 @ 2:13 am

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