Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The communal nature of blogging

On the Blog of Proximal Development the other day, I saw a reference to a post I made a few days ago about grading blogs. Konrad talked about grading the contributions that students make to the blogoshere through comments. He said:
I think that student bloggers should be recognized for writing as part of a larger community of inquirers. Some of my most successful writers are those who are aware of what their friends are writing about and who participate in conversations with other bloggers in their class.
I agree with him very much on that point. It is the exactly that communal nature of blogging that makes it so exciting.

But I wonder how we instill that in our students.

I think we have to carefully develop blogging assignments so that students are led to comment without really realizing it. It can't be left as something "extra" to do after completing the assignment. The comments have to substantive; they have to actually contribute to the conversation.

One way that we can do that, I think, is to take a page from Anne Davis' book (yet again!). She invited us, her blog readers, to comment on the blogs of her students. This provided tham with the opportunity to see that other people were interested in what they had to write. I think that seeing genuine comments from total strangers helped them to appreciate the value of comments. I hope it also encouraged them to take commenting more seriously. I know that they commented regularly on each others' blogs, and I know their comments were good ones.

I think that Bee hit the nail on the head when she recently commented on an earlier post of mine here when she said:
The essential, however, ... is to keep the conversation potential open...either with yourself or/and with the others.
When we see it as conversation, we understand that it involves sharing, opening ourselves up. Blogging is communal and, I believe, ultimately very humanizing.


Lesley said...

It's a bit like the problem of Shrodinger's cat. If a blog exists in isolation from all other blogs and the blogger doesn't interact with any other bloggers, does that blog still exist in the blogosphere? Is it still a valid creation?

Bud Hunt said...

Been kind of quiet -- are you still out there?