Third Step: Engage Students in Dialog
Once students (at all three campuses) had completed and published their analyses on the class blog site, students were then asked to respond to each other. Student
online response has to be carefully constructed. If not, there is the danger that superficial comments (those reminiscent of myspace comments) can take over. Because our goal was to create a space of thoughtful dialog we created questions to guide the responses:
- Do you agree or disagree with the writer’s assertion about the overall efficacy of the website? Why? Why not?
- Were your thoughts on the website’s author, audience, and purpose similar or different? Explain the differences and or similarities. Reflect on the writer’s reasons and arguments. Were they similar or different?
- What was interesting and/or insightful about this writer’s paper?
- Why did you chose this analysis? What makes it interesting, insightful, important?
- What were the writer’s claims about the author, audience, purpose, and efficacy of the site? After viewing the site do you agree or disagree? Why? Why not? Explain.
- Why were the writer’s conclusions persuasive? Why? Why not? Explain.
Here is an example of a student response. This was my colleague’s student, but in this comment, she is actually responding to me. In a previous response to another student, Hrossi had left some very brief comments. I pushed her for clarification and explanation. Though there is some informality in her response (which is indicative of a blogging), her insights focus on the content of the assignment (credibility) and she gives an example that demonstrates her clear understanding of the concept in the world outside of the assignment.