Friday, February 1, 2008

New twist on classroom assignments

While perusing another science librarian's blog, I came across an entry introducing his ninth-grade son's blog: Space Exploration and Us! I bring this to the attention of the Eckerd community because I think it is a great way to use new technology in the classroom. In this case, the student decided that the active component of his semester-long project would be this blog. Eckerd students might find this an unusual way to approach one of the less restrictive writing assignments they are given. Approach your professor with this idea and see what they say. Direct them to this blog if you think it will help!

In addition, I can see professors using this model to introduce unique assignments to classes, especially those classes where writing a research paper does not seem to fit. As a liberal arts college, we often question whether students are getting enough writing experience, especially those in the sciences. For example, chemistry professors often do not see writing assignments fit into some of their classes. However, with a blog, students could explore one topic over an entire semester. And the blogs would serve a study guides for the entire class. Or math professors--who often struggle with students who aren't majoring in math--could have students write an interdisciplinary blog that explores how math integrates with their chosen major.

Another Web 2.0 idea is the wiki. At Eckerd, we have our own academic wiki, and NAS' own Steve Weppner serves as its extremely helpful and knowledgeable guru. For a class in the humanities, I helped a professor create a wiki template for his class to complete as part of their project. This sort of assignment could easily be adapted for the sciences, and again, would serve a student-created study guides for final exams.

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