Comments: I am a MSc PR student in Stirling University, and I want to tell you that I will definitely encourage my tutor to make the same assignment the following years. I can assure you that your students have definitely learnt a lot by running their own blogs, even if they weren’t posting frequently. But you are not typical– you have genuinely tried to get involved in the blogosphere. I know because I’ve seen your comments on some of my students’ blogs and have checked into your blog a few times. It’s wonderful when students do as you have done and really dive in, but in fact many of mine did not. As part of my ongoing battle to manage my time as efficiently as possible, I’m supposed to ask myself if a given project will improve my standing in my department or community, take too long, or be enjoyable. Maybe I’m just grumpy because I’m overloaded at the end of the semester, but right now it’s hard to say this assignment passes any of those criteria!
Of course, you’re right that the bottom line is student benefit, so maybe I’ll keep doing it even though some didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. In the meantime, keep up your great work! Over all, I think blogging was a great assignment and I would encourage you to continue it, perhaps in a writing course. Firstly, I want to thank you for your flattering words. I understand that you are disappointed as the goals you had set haven’t been reached but I would recommend you to think of the following: it was the first year of this assignment, so there is much room for improvement. You’ve asked for feedback, so hopefully you’ll find out what your students liked or disliked. Nikki’s idea, to set at least a post as a weekly requirement, which was the case for our assignment, would probably urge the students to spend more time on it.
Moreover, what our tutor has asked us to do is to comment at least once per week to one of our classmates’ blogs and to an external blog. I think that was really useful, as it motivated me to search the blogosphere and find out what is being discussed. Thanks to both of you for your constructive feedback. I’ll definitely consider all this when I plan my class next fall. I especially liked the blogging assignment because just like you said, I felt like I got to know my classmates AND you much better even though I had you for two other classes in the past. I also liked that I had another big assignment in which the grade could only be influenced by the work I put into it. I know that it is important to learn to work with a team, and sometimes your grade can be affected by others’, this was a nice way to individually show what I know and think about PR! Good point, Kelly. And in fact the blog did make a difference (up or down) in a few people’s final grades, especially if their team grade was on a margin.
I liked that an individual grade was what made the final determination. I understand your frustration because I have assigned similar blogging efforts to students for three semesters. Lower your expectations. I was depressed and frustrated after the first semester, but it was because I had held the bar up too high for students new to the blogosphere. The past two semesters I have had returning students who were once my biggest naysayers and now the biggest advocates. I am proud of how far the students have come and the rest of the faculty is taking notice. Keep up the good work. While not all bloggers in our profession may respond immediatly, we are watching and reading intently. You know, Lauren, I think you are right. I think I expected them to be as excited about it as I was, because I perceive it to be for their benefit. But just like people already in the practice, not everyone’s going to be into it. Thanks for the encouragement!