Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Blogging classes
In the middle of a surrealistic conversation, Alex Golub writes about blogging a class. He - or Mena, if there is a difference - is concerned with the knowledge which is not conscious, the knowledge gained by making connections, through insights, not through rote learning.

I don't make my students blog, the way Jill does, but I make my students log their progress all the way. They write not just papers, create products which we assess etc etc, but they have a diary, a log of their work. this is because I want them to focus on the process, an attempt to make it clear for them that in this situation what they end up with is not as important as the insights they make while they are striving towards the products we ask them to produce. Which means that if we ask them to work on a web-site for an organisation, it's not important to finish the web-site, what I want is an analysis of what they tried to do and why they couldn't finish said site. I have students who are ambitious and want to show off their work. they know it's important to have a portfolio when they come out there in the real world, so I don't need to push them towards the product.

Nothing puts focus on the process like a diary, journal or log. When you have to sit down and put into words all those little decisions, you get a clear image of what has been going on, and you have a chance to see not only what didn't work, but if there were freak combinations which worked. A blog is just the same thing. It's public and electronic, it has a few better search-features than your handwritten journal, but it gives you a chance to go back and check where thoughts, ideas and combinations came into your writing, from where and why.

With or without a lightsaber.

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