The Big Novel (Redux)

I’m teaching my Big Novel class for the second time this semester, having struggled a bit while teaching it the first time during Spring 2004, and the class is proving to me daily what a difference a blog can make. Three years ago, my students wrote weekly reading responses; this year, instead, they’re blogging their reading, and because they’re constantly in dialogue with one another about the books, and not just with me, they’re asking really good questions about the reading, they’re making really interesting connections, and they’re helping one another out with ideas. Discussion flows brilliantly, both in and out of the classroom, and it just makes me happy.

Midterm papers arrive today; I’m really looking forward to seeing what kinds of effects the blog has had there.

5 thoughts on “The Big Novel (Redux)

  1. I’ve been thinking of asking my students here in Japan to blog reading responsessince they didn’t take to the ANGEL discussion boards I set up last semester for them. But I’m worried that their lack of confidence in (and in many cases facility with) written English and relative unfamiliarity and discomfort with the “thinking aloud in public” rough draft approach to writing heuristically will paralyze them even worse when it comes to blogging. Any suggestions?

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  3. Well, now I have to leave the spam, I guess. I’ve defused its links, though. I mean, wow, gold.

    As to the actual question on the table: the class blog can be somewhat rough going at first, unless you’ve got a couple of experienced bloggers in the class. If you don’t, I’d advise starting them out by (a) giving them something to read about blogs and why they’re good, (b) asking them to go out and find blogs that they think other people in the class should be reading, and then post about them, and (c) using your own posts and comments to model good blogging, and to reinforce the kind of discourse you’d like to see, without overpowering the conversation. It’s all a bit of a balancing act, but one that’s worth it, if you can get your students started…

  4. Thanks, may propose it as an option for all my classes and then pressure, I mean, model the one(s) that seem most confident or curious into doing it…. And sorry about wasting your time deactivating links on comment spam….

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