[CITASA] using blogs with your courses

david.louden at L-3Com.com david.louden at L-3Com.com
Wed Oct 21 14:16:49 EDT 2009

Professor Welzer,


It is worth asking the question as to whether or not your "ad" sponsors
will be themselves be monitoring and evaluating the blogs their revenue
is supporting and if so, for what purpose.  Should such ads be other
than passive in nature and include links to surveys in addition to the
subject itself, they may be using the information to obtain marketing
demographic data from your students.  Know what you are getting and know
what is being pushed out to your students.  Remember, If you require
their participation of your blogasphere, they need to know what the
rules of the road are to include disabling cookies and such from your
blog sponsors.   My opinions and comments are mine alone and are merely
intended to detail the minutiae involved in the environment you are
working in.  Satisfy yourself.  Better to be the Mechanic than the Tool.
And, It is a poor mechanic that blames his tools.


David Louden
Program Manager and Senior Project Developer
Mission Technologies & Training (Operations) Department
Intelligence Solutions Division
National Solutions Business Unit
L-3 Communications

301 575-3426
240 373-3828

"Teaming  with the customer for success
and Owning the future."



From: citasa-bounces at list.citasa.org
[mailto:citasa-bounces at list.citasa.org] On Behalf Of Howard Welser
Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 1:11 PM
To: citasa at list.citasa.org
Subject: Re: [CITASA] using blogs with your courses



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 blog: 



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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