I’m writing blogs about academic topics and study skills that I think are better than what I’d produce working directly with the students – whether that’s in class, talking to them or producing a handout or powerpoint slides to take them through the key points.
Point in case is the post I’m currently working on regarding referencing. I could simply produce a handout which outlines the key information which is necessary for the students to submit work with (hopefully) properly presented references included in their assessments. However as I’m producing a blog I seem to be holding myself to higher standards – looking for evidence to support the points I’m making – and providing references to my sources.
I guess I’m applying my standards to my own work which is a good thing as I’m role modelling the standard of work I’m expecting from my students.
Are my students suffering as a result of me not doing this in the classroom? Possibly, the answer is yes and no.
Yes, because they do not see how to reference – what that looks like in work they are handed out. I have no control over the resources they access on the internet (typically most don’t want to use books – if its not available electronically they don’t want to know). So if I routinely modelled good academic behaviour in my handouts etc rather than simply sharing the knowledge I’ve accumulated over time, they would have a better idea of how to reference – and how to produce academic work of a good standard.
No because I’m not skimping on the knowledge I’m sharing. The students will still get the same information passed on to them and as we’re in the classroom we also have the opportunity to discuss points and they can ask questions or clarify understanding which is not always available if you’re simply reading something that has been published. Therefore if I’m relying purely on a piece of written work to convey all the information on a topic I wish to get across, I have to ensure my work is more robust. Also, to be taken seriously and to be considered as knowledgeable and a trustworthy source on my blog, I need to be using appropriate resources.
So while I don’t believe the students suffer in terms of the information shared in class; having access to articles and posts that I have taken time to develop will enhance their learning and provide a benchmark of what academic writing and referencing should look like. It is good that going back into the classroom after having read my articles, my own students have the enhanced experience of being able to discuss the content of the various posts and ask questions about the content as well as layout, presentation and academic style etc.
So while I’m producing blog articles that I hope will help many students looking to develop their study skills they have an added benefit of giving my own students an enriched experience.
What has been your experience? How has blogging impacted on your life? Has it enhanced other areas of your life?