I ended up using the blogs on Blackboard for two reasons, ones that in the end, make sense. One, it is easier for the students to access. They can see each other’s entries right there. Two, I can too.. This is one-stop shopping, so to speak, and that ease in communication counts for something. There’s a third reason as well. I do not have to do the end-of-semester blog talley. Blackboard does it for me. In fact, I can and do separate entries out by module rather than a big-whacking lump at the end. Pedagogically, that is better since the ones who are behind see it in the grade book.
The reasons against using Blackboard’s blog tool were purely mine and have more to do with aesthetics and digital identity. The students will never feel this blog is theirs. However, I’ve been assigning blogs to students, since 1999 and very few keep the space created for class. Some may start a blog elsewhere and some of those told me so, but there’s no real way to trace that. So, doing this, classroom blogging, is a seed, one planted so that when they do feel the need, that real-life need to reflect in writing or to make an online portfolio for work, or even to make an author page, they have the chops and know what to do. In my experience, this happens mainly with students who go on to teach or be authors (or both). The class I have now has some classroom teachers, but the course focus is not pedagogy–it’s science fiction/ fantasy literature.
Thus, I wanted students to easily see their video SFF manifestos in one spot and Blackboard definitely did that. Here is mine, the second time around , with notecards to keep me on track. Version 2 was done in my Siceluff Hall office using iMovie. It also does a better job of saying exactly why I read (and write) science fiction/ fantasy.