One plus that I found for blogging/social media learning has to do with being sick. Which I currently am. Going to class while sick is a pain, and leads to little intellectual growth. The same can be said for attempting to create a blog post while ill, but I did find one very useful aspect of online learning: web searches take very little effort or brain power. So, since there is a need is to link link link, online ed has a one up on classroom learning as it costs me very little to sit in my home bubble and at the bare minimum search for decent links to study later.
My sickly searches and chosen pages of “quality” info were horrendous. It appears that hot liquids and napping still hold the title belt for usefulness while ill.
Ok. Back to work.
“Consider what students need to be taught to engage blogging practice in order to overcome the challenges you see in learning by way of social media.”
I decided to answer this question based on the online aspects of this style of learning. I feel that the blogging and social media style of education has a very powerful and interesting level of individuality which one has to find on their own. The content, tone, construction, and personal organization of a blogging course is dependent on the creator’s knowledge of many levels of content and technological affordances.
With that being the case, in terms of organizing one’s life to cope with this freedom, I say-
PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL-especially now that you cannot say that your dog ate your blog post or course syllabus.
Linked to this idea is the use of the organizational tools that technology has to offer. For instance, I would stress to a prospective student that they put the course syllabus, or any other structural information for the course, on a favorites list. Farmer’s ideal blogging course places the teacher as a “central node” within the course (97). If students do not pay attention to the course structure, this hopeful construct is useless for them and will lead to a degrading of the course’s overall effectiveness. While Farmer also notes that discussion boards, and blog comments can offer some challenges in creating a social presence, as well as stiffing a teacher’s ability to be a (hopefully positive) influence, these issues can only be exasperated by a student body whose lack of awareness leads them to the xbox when they should be on a discussion board, or posting their weekly review.
For myself I initially favorited Morgan’s Weblogs and Wikis course home page so I could occasionally double check on the basic structure of the course, and The Daybook so I could check for the daily updates. I have since rid my favorites list of the courses homepage as I now feel that I have a handle on that really confusing Sunday review thing, and the Wednesday meeting schedule. I have also taken the time to add the Daybook to my RSS feed. These are not ground breaking ideas, but I do feel that they are important for the student who may forget. Or in my experience as an instructor, the student who emails me questions about the paper that is due tomorrow, even though I assigned it a week ago and have discussed it many times during class meetings…any who. The fact of the matter is, some people more help than others, but if the instructor has created sources to clear the mud, they really should be used.
Looking through the slither that I pulled up when I was sick, I did find decent summation of the strengths and weaknesses of online education. I fully agree with the Illinois Online Network‘s description of the importance of being involved and aware:
“While an online method of education can be a highly effective alternative medium of education for the mature, self-disciplined student, it is an inappropriate learning environment for more dependent learners. Online asynchronous education gives students control over their learning experience, and allows for flexibility of study schedules for non traditional students; however, this places a greater responsibility on the student. In order to successfully participate in an online program, student must be well organized, self-motivated, and possess a high degree of time management skills in order to keep up with the pace of the course.”