A third of the students decided to take a pass on the blog this period: 17% of the class did nothing, and another 15% didn’t do enough to pass. That’s a bit depressing, not least because I implore them not too. They live to survive another day (I take the best score from the three blog periods) but those who did nothing this first round miss the feed back the others get. That means the abstainers will be running into Blog Period 3, the period of last resort (flu, finals, other course crises). Maybe they’ll ace the next period and need no feedback. But just four students scored an A or an A- from a standing start in this Blog Period….
Anyhow, the remaining two thirds of the class did do significant work. The average score of those who did enough to pass was 75% (C+). This means a significant amount of improvement is possible. The grading team spent a huge amount of time posting individual feedback to each student, with tips for what to do better, how to improve. From past experience, I know that those who think hard about their feedback and really strive this coming blog period will knock it out of the park. The biggest most gratifying jumps in performance are the step from the first to second blog period.
There sure were some great individual posts. I enjoyed learning that I can keep eating gluten (or can I?) and that some people just are bad test takers (those people should concentrate on the blogging! – by design, there are many ways to get an excellent grade in SC200). I also learned that smoking is bad for plants (who would have thought to ask?), that we have no idea why we have nightmares (our ignorance about ourselves is staggering) and that the photic sneeze reflex (great name) is heritable. Health topics dominated, of course, and we learn that vitamin C is a wash (someone should blog about zinc: that works), that grade obsession is bad (I hate it too: worst part of being a professor), that volleyball is no safer on a beach, and that wearing heels is as bad for you as you might imagine (so I’ve given mine away). Some folk bravely took on difficult subjects, like the humanity of a fetus and whether cell phones in bras cause cancer (a topic I might pick up later in semester). I also learned I need to go home.
Students who want to improve their scores: Look at some of those examples. Look at other examples of best practice here. Read the Instructor posts, especially this one. Go over the grading rubric again. Do not leave posting to the last minute – post a great post every week. Ask the TAs for advice. Heck, have a look at the work they did last year when they are doing the class. You can find their work via the Contributions Page for the 2014 Class Blog. Note the big jump in the quality of their posts between Blog Period 1 and Blog Period 2….. SC200 is all about trying, learning and improving.