Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Session - the end of the essay? Enhancing students writing through new media led by Michael Powell (AAD)

Really enjoyed the session that we had yesterday, so for those who missed it - the key areas for me was the ‘reinforcement’ & feedback opportunity that blogging allows which can be spread over time and given at regular intervals which over the essay appears far superior as Michael described than when assessed in one chunk in an ‘essay’. Writing or blogging in this way appears to allow you to pick up on both strengths and weaknesses of a student which can be worked on and built. I also like the way that it adds more depth to the relationship the student has on their course journey and developing a sense of community amongst peers (I should mention here, the Game Art student blogs are ‘public’ and available to all level of students in the course). In a sense, (the blog) is like a PDP in disguise even though the student is not aware of it! (Don’t tell the students that!)
As Michael pointed out, you can see how it can become overwhelming for the tutor as you can’t give feedback on all individual blog entries and this is where you need some basic ‘rules of engagement’ (maybe peer to peer review?). The concern though about adding ‘structure’ to blogs so that you pre define entry titles (so assessment could be easier for the tutor) defeats the object and could stifle the fluidity of it and engagement. For me, blogs are very much a developmental process (and can go beyond their course) for the student and thus should and would contain evidence of strengths, weaknesses, understanding etc, its part and parcel of developing their skills and to hopefully attain ‘what’ is needed from the exercise. The informality of writing freely allows the student to express themselves without being too overly concerned that they are being monitored, so you can see the attraction. I do think blogs are transferable across a range of disciplines, for some an applied structure may work and a manageable time frame. Overall a great a session..thanks Michael.

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