The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

Using the blogs

I’d like to comment on my experiences with using this blog so far.  I’ve never worked in this medium until this week but can certainly compare it to a wiki, which I’ve been using in my class as well as to collaborate on course design.

First of all, I’ve enjoyed being able to read other posts.  I could (and did) spend hours reading posts, discussion topics and generally playing with the buttons to familiarize myself with this environment.  I told some of my coworkers earlier last week that I would just come home, turn on the laptop and the next thing I know I am in a world that exists only inside this window.  And then I start to open more and more windows as I read, respond, research… well, I wouldn’t leave this spot until it was time for bed.  And still, the ideas would dance in my mind to the point of keeping me awake long past my bedtime.

The ideas came from all the wonderful posts I read and wanted to add to.  I’ve taken online courses before where the amount of research required kept us from reading other posts and perhaps saving some of the valuable resources other students might have discovered.  In other words, time constraints kept us from benefiting from each others’ research.

I think the pace so far has allowed me to read and reflect.  I am also enjoying the way I can work in a non-linear fashion.  I can spend time reading blogs or posts on the discussion boards or following up on links that have been provided by other students.  Or, I can be anti-social and go read my textbook.

It’s the social aspect of this medium that makes it so delightful and compelling.  And thank goodness I don’t have to put on my boots come winter to go off to a campus.

On the downside, I have struggled with figuring out how to post to a certain page and have feared publishing a post and finding I did it all wrong only to not be able to delete it (ungrounded fears).  I created my own blog last week for a space to experiment.  That way I wouldn’t feel foolish if I made a mistake.

And I will let you in on a secret.  One of the other students and I regularly talk on the phone or chat when we are unsure on how to proceed.  But that is quickly turning into discussions on what we might research for our Module 4 project.

As for comparisons to a wiki, I think the wiki might be simpler to understand and set up.  As such, it might be more suitable for my high school classes.  When I tried the experiment last year with my grade 12s as an alternative to a group project and presentation, there was a lot of trepidation.  I liked the wiki because it allowed me to see exactly who took part in the group work and when and how often they worked.  I am not sure how that would work in a blog.

I will continue to investigate this blogging business and hopefully, I’ll be able to use this technology as comfortably as I have used Blackboard for online courses or wikis for class projects.  For now, I just hope this publishes to the right page.


1 Laurie Trepanier { 09.15.09 at 8:30 pm }

Struggles appear to be rampant. I am trying to find my old posts and to make sense of all the information found here. It appears to be a mass of information that has little structure. Perhaps I am just not used to this format, but I am finding this blog a little overwhelming. Any advice on how to navigate this community?


2 Jeff Miller { 09.15.09 at 10:42 pm }

Hi Catherine and Laurie,

Catherine, I appreciate your reflections on the experience of using a weblog. It is a great idea to set up your own blog to experiment.

A key thing to remember with a weblog is that the blog will show the latest posts (on whatever categories), on the main page. To navigate to particular clusters of postings, use the category links (and assign categories to your own posts) and it will be possible to see all of the postings on one topic in one place. Or, use the search field to try to find a specific user or posting.


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