Comments: A Natural Part

In a stack of papers called Unorganized.

  • Jun
  • 18
  • 2005

Reading around a bit after my last post, I started thinking about how I’ll be grading blog entries next year. This part year, I graded them on completion. If the entry was done, it got full credit, regardless of the quality. That’s a shame because one student wrote a poem as a response from Romeo about the Capulet party, while others just wrote drivel. I was sure to comment on another one of his entries, though, so I hope that gives him *some* validation.

Nancy has some good thoughts about grading. Once again, I see a key part of this process in the teacher blogging regularly and making that blog available to the students. I’ve also thought of partnering up with one other teacher (on campus or not, it doesn’t matter) and having one day every other week where we have our students comment on the others’ blogs. I’ve also thought of opening up the student blogs to the English department on campus for comments. Maybe even to the administrators (like them or not, students get a kick out of the principal and dean commenting on their work). Maybe even the entire campus.

But Nancy is right: commenting on peer blogs cannot be an extra thing to do after they have written their own entry (which is exactly how I played it with my freshmen blog project). The comments have to contribute and be a natural part of a discussion created with the blogs. I’m not required to comment on other people’s blogs, but I spend a considerable amount of my time doing so because I want to join the conversation.

Comments need to be a natural part of contributing to the culture of blogging. Hmmm… That’s my next topic, right there.


1. Todd says:

[6/19/2005 - 11:37 am]

This past year, one of my freshmen students did a really good job with class participation (she was *always* the first to respond when I asked the class a question), though she only earned a C in class. I had our principal sign Classroom Contribution Awards that I made at home to hand out in addition to the school-sponsored academic awards. He made a comment that got me thinking, something to the effect of: the more teachers honor students for doing things that they should do in class, we create a culture that expects this kind of behavior.

I wonder if this would work for blog comments, too. Would an award to a student in each class who has demonstrated particularly high quality and high-level thinking in his/her comments, maybe along with a $1.00 iTunes certificate, be something to stimulate conversation?

My other thought is to have a minimum of X amount of comments from each student required each semester. Yeah, we’re back to the requirement thing, but it’s commenting as they feel it’s appropriate.

Of course, it all boils down to whether or not the topic stimulates conversation. So maybe there are blog entries where the quality of the conversation is evaluated (though I don’t know the criteria for that). Then, there are other blog entries that are evaluated for the content of the entry.

2. Nancy McKeand says:

[6/19/2005 - 8:45 am]

That idea of conversation is critical, I think. It is what makes blogging work for me. I will be anxious to see what you do with your next batch of blogging students in this regard.