Monday, October 11, 2004

Blogging with ERASMUS students

I have started to blog with this year's ERASMUS students, who are over in Barcelona until Christmas. I have them for a class on Catalan Culture, introducing them to the culture and history of Catalonia (and how this is similar to / different from Spanish culture).

Last year I set up a class weblog for this group, and although the experience was positive, and some of the students continued blogging there after the course, I found that having just one weblog between 25 students made it difficult to keep track of what everyone was saying. I also used the weblog as a way of grading them, and it was not easy to evaluate as all posts were on one site. Finally, I asked them to set up an account, and there were problems (with students forgetting passwords and user names).

so, having learned from my mistakes, I set up a class weblog for the group here:
http://catalanculture.blogspot.com
and also individual learner weblogs, linked to the class weblog. I actually set up all the accounts for the students and gave them their logins and passwords. That way I set myself up as Administrator on all the accounts and fixed the settings to help the functioning of the weblog community.

My idea is that the others can respond to what their colleagues say using the comments system, and so when someone makes a comment, an email is sent to the student to inform them. When they publish their weblog, however, an email is automatically sent to me. This way, I know when I have to check their blogs and respond. In theory, it should work much better than last year's system. We shall see! At least it seems that a lot of the students have responded well to using weblogs and are posting about their experiences in the city...

4 comments:

  1. Hi Graham,
    If I understand well, you are from an English speaking country, teaching in Barcelona, is it so?

    Thanks for the information on your application of the blog medium in class. I'll pass it on, when I speak about the issue to readers here in Israel.

    May i invite you to visit the Team Members' forum I've just set up?
    http://timeintelaviv.blogspot.com/teamforum/2004/10/call-to-open-arms.html
    I've just published A Call to Open Arms and will appreciate your advise or "matching" with the right Catalonians...

    With warm regards,
    In thanks,
    Corinna

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  2. Anonymous2:57 pm

    Hi Graham,

    Can you explain in a little more detail how you set up the group blog with individual blogs linked to it? Is it easy to do through 'blogspot', and can students later change their passwords and personalise their blogs?

    It sounds interesting and is something I'd like to try. One final question - how much planning is involved?

    Adam

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  3. Hello Adam,
    I did the same thing with my students and it is easy to set this up. Have a look at: http://beeonline2.blogspot.com

    This is the classroom blog (where I am the administrator and the students members) and on the lefthand side I have linked (inserted the code in the template) all the individual students' blogs (who have in turn made me a member). If you ask your stds to add your email in the emailing tab inside their blogs , then you get their posts by mail everytime they write without having to go and check them one by one.
    Another way of knowing if their blogs have been updated is by asking them to activate the Atom feed (RSS)in their blogs, subscribing to a news aggregator like bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com)and syndicating their page.
    Regards from Brazil

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  4. Thanks Bee for answering - I've been indisposed recently (problems with the PC & modem), but I'm back now and trying to catch up. I'm sure that Barbara's advice is enough, but if you have any more questions, just let me know.

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