Blogging to Enhance Learning Experiences: February 12-25, 2007

Blogging from a student's perspective

Blogging from a student's perspective

by Jennifer Sullivan -
Number of replies: 5
Hi all,
I am one of Michael Griffith's literature students and have been blogging as part of the course since the start of 2005. I have found blogging to be an integral part of my learning and I place a lot of value on it for my improved grades over the past two years.

Blogging means that I take what I have learnt in class, and expand on it in my own time. I am able to present my own ideas and thoughts on texts through a variety of mediums; writing, poetry, artwork, etc.
Face-to-face classes are never long enough, so blogging means that I am able to explore other issues within a text, ones that may not have been covered in class. Other students are then able to read my ideas, and comment on them, which in turn provides new insights into the texts.
Similarly I am able to read posts by other students, which allows me to consider aspects of the texts which I normally would have overlooked.
An important aspect of blogging is the involvement of the teacher/lecturer. Michael regularly reads our blogs and comments on them. This means that we, as the students, feel that our efforts are valued. I know that when I read Michael's feedback I feel that my hard work is justified and it encourages me to post more, or be more creative in my blogs.

Blogging also provides a medium where anyone can express their views and ideas without fear or embarrassment. In my class at uni there are several students who are shy and who often will not put forward their views in class. The advantage of blogging is that within a few hours of class finishing, I can go online and see these people's thoughts. Some of them are astounding. Blogging allows them to be themselves without any restrictions.

I have also found blogging to provide amazing connections between students. It allows students from all types of backgrounds to communicate and often to become friends. Through blogging, I have created connections with students not only in my class, but also those in other years, as well as homeless students whom Michael teaches outside of uni. Without our blogs, I most likely would have never spoken to these people, let alone became solid friends with them.

In reply to Jennifer Sullivan

Re: Blogging from a student's perspective

by Michael Griffith -
Jennifer Sullivan has given an awesome description of how, as a student, blogging has added a whole new dimension to her education. This reflects so well my own experience of how blogging- at its best- can add immeasurably to conventional literature teaching in the university classroom.
Thank you Jennifer for such a clear and concise summary.

I know it might be a big ask Jennifer, but for this august international audience (!) :-I 8-. :-/ ;-) I wonder could you select - with an example- one or two really high moments for you in your blogging experience that really gave you an "Aha" experience... either a time where you suddenly found yourself freed into talking about something in a way that you never had been able to before, or a time when you found yourself in a conversation of a really special kind, or..... I don't want to put you on the spot but you have intimated such a fabulous range of examples in your comment above... it would be good to see a specific example or two..... please don't hate me for this! P-|
Cheers
MG.... and you have 12 days in which to reply!!!!!!
In reply to Jennifer Sullivan

Re: Blogging from a student's perspective

by WL Wong -
Hello from Sydney,

I have seen over the last few years the tremendous transformation in terms of creativity, connection, collaboration and communication amongst Michael Griffith's students. Blogging with LJ has brought a freshness and vitality to Michael and his students.

Would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Michael on persevering with LJ Blogging  when few others were interested in it, and to all his past and present students who have embarked on this wonderful journey with him.

Thank you for sharing!

Cheers
Wai-Leng
In reply to WL Wong

Re: Blogging from a student's perspective

by Michael Griffith -
Thanks for the moral support Wai-Leng... I think your enthusiasm for new technologies and your awareness of how it is not the technology itself, but what students find themselves capable of doing with it... that is the critically important element. Students like Jennifer have really been able to capitalize on this empowering "paintbrush" called blog and find new ways of expressing themselves and new ways of sharing their insights with each other. I think that in years gone past university students had more leisure to sit around in the quadrangle (smoking their pipes) discussing philosophical, literary and other issues. But the pace of life is definately intensified from those days with students having to spend more time earning money and juggling several different life roles.... so enter this wonderful world of the Blog through which students can reclaim some of the personal and more intimate modes of communication... in their own time... and through this still be well connected to their peers......

Hi! So and so.... I caught your blog last night.... great ideas! great party!..........

Cheers
Michael
In reply to Jennifer Sullivan

Re: Blogging from a student's perspective

by Jennifer Goodwin -
Having studied university english for a year before joining Michael's class, I noticed the huge difference the blogging element of the unit made to my learning. It is all too easy to read the text, go to class, listen to the opinions of vocal class members and lecturers and go home limited to these insights. While classroom discussion is certainly valuable, I found that it is often not until hours or even days after a class has been held that my insights formed concretely enough in my head to enable me to share them. By this stage, the class had moved on and the opportunity to share my insights had been missed. I find blogging to be an excellent way of sharing my insights.

The opportunity to network with other students is, I believe, invaluable especially in a subject that encourages such rich discussion. It is all too easy to leave a class having not understood something or having missed the opportunity to hear the insights of less vocal class members. Blogging provides the opportunity to bridge these gaps.

There is an ever increasing push in the education world to incorporate technology into the classroom. A group of students can have such varying abilities and confidences when it comes to using new mediums for their learning and I have noticed that blogging provides a simple, non-intimidating way of incorporating technology into learning. Blogging has also proven to be an awesome creative outlet for all of us. Without blogging, I know that my classmates can read a text and write an essay. After blogging for a year, I know that we have poets, film-makers, hypertext writers and cartoonists among us. 
In reply to Jennifer Goodwin

Re: Blogging from a student's perspective

by Michael Griffith -
Jennifer Goodwin- third year student last year- has provided an excellent summary of her first-hand experience of blogging in higher education. I think she raises some key issues that point to the real effectiveness of blogging in the "Higher Ed" class rooom: a way of deepening and sharing responses articulated in the classroom; a way of continuing the networking established in class; a way of hearing ALL students- not just the ueber-vocalizers; a way of introducting students gently into the wonderful world of Web2 tools; a canvas for creative artists of all persuasions (poets, film-makers, cartoonists, hypertext gurus) to develop and share their creative expressing; and amidst all of these: a way of filling the gaps in learning and in relationships.....
Thank you so much Jennifer Goodwin for this very thoughtful and succint summary of your years as an Australian Catholic University Blogger!!!!!!!
Cheers
Michael
:-D :-D :-D :-D