#OpenLearning19 Required Blogging?

In the resources for this past week, there were mentions of required blogging. I am very much in favor of blogging, but I am not sure if I would like to be forced to do it.

Traffic sign turn rightFirst, it’s not everyone’s taste. Since at least Mak, S. F. J., Williams, R. & Mackness, J. (2010), we know that Blogs and Forums are different. And exactly because I myself prefer the (more asynchronous) blogs over the (more synchronous) forums, I empathize with learners who have the opposite learning style, erm, preference.

Furthermore, my problem is to come up with an idea on demand. I like it when I encounter something remarkable and I can sit down and reflect on it. But I don’t want to search for something remarkable to write about. These are two very different modes of operation of the mind.

So I wonder if the requirement may put students off blogging, such that they won’t continue blogging after the course is over. In other contexts, ‘open’ connotates two ways of ‘free’: free of charge and without obligation or, as Suber said, free of most restrictions. Yes, I know that open does not equal free, but I am uncomfortable with the combination of openness and force. In connectivism, openness is combined with autonomy, diversity and interactivity, instead.

This entry was posted in OpenLearning19. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to #OpenLearning19 Required Blogging?

  1. jennymackness says:

    This post completely resonates with me Matthias and I think that many ‘teachers’ struggle with how to encourage students/course participants to blog or to participate in discussion forms without resorting to ‘force’ in the guise of marks for contribution made.

    I can see that from the teacher’s perspective a course may appear to be more successful the more open/visible interaction is in evidence. It’s very hard for an online tutor to work in a course where everyone, or almost everyone is silent, or where only a few voices dominate. But I also think we have to wonder who the course is for (the teacher or the student) and how we determine success. Online invisibility/silence doesn’t necessarily equate to lack of success, from the student’s perspective.

    I once participated in a 4 week online course, where after the first few days only I and one other participant engaged in the forums and completed the tasks. I don’t know how many people were learning by listening and observing. I am sure this course was very hard for the tutor, but for me it was memorable and very successful. I learned a lot from the course materials and from the other course participant.

    A past colleague once said to me, when I was worrying about this question of participation in forums etc., ‘Whoever comes to the table, are the right people’. I have always found that helpful.

  2. x28 says:

    Thank you very much Jenny for contributing your long rich experience as both online teacher and learner!

  3. VanessaVaile says:

    Matthias, your comments on required blogging and coming up with ideas on demand struck a chord. T.H. White’s line, “all that is not forbidden is compulsory,” about Arthur’s tutelage in the kingdom of the ants comes to mind.

  4. x28 says:

    Many thanks Vanessa for the comment, and for the pointers which have lead me to further interesting entries of dictionaries and encyclopedias.

  5. gardnercampbell says:

    Well, as we say in the biz, it all depends. I require my students to blog, but the requirement is not the same as an assignment. I outline the distinction here: http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=620

    It’s also worth noting that I don’t ask them to come up with ideas on demand. It’s useful to be able to do that, in fact, but that’s not what I’d ask for in terms of their blogs. Instead, I ask them to tell the story of their learning. Blogs are inherently or perhaps implicitly narrative, I think, in that they’re ordered chronologically. And when I ask students to tell the story of their learning, I am asking them to pay attention to their learning, to take it seriously, and to share the experience of learning with the world. Note that I am not asking them to list what they’ve learned or to deliver content in some way. Those things may happen. They may not be separable from the story. But the requirement is to tell the story of their learning, and the payoff is richer and more sustained metacognition, urged and encouraged by their teacher, but without any specific parameters. Specific parameters generate reflections that are dutiful and manufactured, in my experience. The kind of blogging I require aims to circumvent compliance-reflexes and engage deeper experiences of observation and greater commitment to sharing stories.

    I also try to help students understand the difference between personal and private, and why they should aim for the first and avoid the second: http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=2039

  6. x28 says:

    Thank you very much Gardner for these extensive clarifications. I understand now that this is a very special form of blogging, with a limited, plausible purpose.
    Also, I am deeply grateful for the two great events (this one and the Engelbart reading before) that you recently hosted; I learned a lot!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.