[CITASA] using blogs with your courses

Howard Welser welser at ohio.edu
Wed Oct 21 13:10:54 EDT 2009

Thanks to all for helpful advice already.

Offline, Tom G. recommended WordpressMU + buddypress extension, which I will
check out.

I am excited to read the resources suggested by Nicole Ellison.

Liz Pullen raised a couple of important issues.  Although I will have a
couple of TAs helping me, there are no discussion sections. (we make time
for group work outside of class so we do get some smaller scale interaction,
but yes, it is a big class).

I do like the idea of establishing different blogs, with TA moderation,
which might be organized to reflect substantive areas from the course.

I agree that the integration of the google ads is a bit jarring, but it also
raises some really interesting questions. The use of the adsense ads has
been a course content motivated experiment.  I talk about it a little on the

So far-- the benefits seem to outweigh the costs, but it is an evolving
topic of discussion in the class.  It may sound strange but the fact that
our work generated ad revenue has had an empowering effect (somehow we were
validated?).  Anyways,students have picked up their pace of submission, are
more interested in sharing it with others.  I also recently added google
analytics to the site, and we are going to discuss the preliminary reports
on readership and usage that they provide, while discussing possible
implications of the availability of that sort of data both for the producer
of the site and 3rd parties.

Also, in light of the course blogging experiment two students have started
blogs of their own, one to help manage a band and the other as a social
commentary blog.

Finally-- I would say that the ads act as symbols of the commercialization
of the education environment, but they also raise the notion that the
intellectual production of student is often either wasted (never reaching
beyond an assignment) or appropriated by the institution for prestige
enhancement.   I like the idea of recapturing some of the that productivity
for the benefit of the class as a whole, and also planting the idea that the
students themselves might want to build their own web pages, blogs, apps,
etc. beyond the course.

Thanks again to everyone, and I suspect I have already missed several
comments because this email took a while to write.


Howard T. Welser
Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Ohio University
Bentley Annex 109
Athens, Ohio 45701
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