De-grading blog inaction

computer.jpgAbout a dozen students hurt their final grades by not participating on the class blog. These students attended class and have done well on the tests. Why did they not blog? Presumably it is simple laziness for some of them. But does blogging dis-enfranchise, dis-empower or dis-incentivize some students? I have resolved to ask the dozen by email, just in case. 

3 thoughts on “De-grading blog inaction

  1. Andrew Read

    The upshot:

    Only three students responded to my email, so I conclude the others were just lazy.

    One of the respondents was honest enough (bless her) to say she just didn’t like science and couldn’t be bothered [clearly a triumph of school education to close a mind so tightly].

    Another said he was very busy and forgot…

    The third said blogging was too much pressure, and he would have preferred to write me weekly essays. This response was interesting – his email implied he didn’t want to post anything average (good) but would have been happy handing in an average essay (bad). But he did suggest that it would have helped if I had been more prescriptive about what I wanted — and finished by saying it was the first science course he’d done in a long time that was enjoyable.

    Conclusion: there is no evidence that blogging dis-enfranchises, dis-empowers, or dis-incentivizes.

  2. August G. Dombrow


    Blogs do not inherently possess the capability to dis-enfranchise, dis-empower, or dis-incentivize–rather, it is the mechanisms we use to foster participation. This has been a long time coming, but I have written a series of blog posts titled “Metablogging” (pts 1, 2, and 3) attempting to analyze the current limitations (as well as the successes) of blogging requirements in the classroom. While the blogs explicitly address the blogging experiences of the Presidential Leadership Academy, certain critiques hold true for other classroom blogs. In the most recent post, I linked to this instructor blog as a step in the right direction, harnessing digital media in new ways that promise to improve the quality of deliberation for both the student and faculty. I will continue to follow the development of the SC 200 course with much interest.

    1. Andrew Read

      August: I was concerned that some students might worry about posting their work where all can see it. Think, for example, of the under confident, or non-native speakers who might be embarrassed by their English.

      I did get some feedback along those lines, but from an unexpected direction. Several journalism students told me that they wanted to post only really good entries because their work would be freely available to anyone, and for ever. Their worry was that potential employers would Google them in years to come. In a couple of cases, that backfired: they were so worried about it, they never got around to doing anything. I wonder if others in the class had problems with self-imposed high bars?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *