It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
KCF’s Engagement/Evaluation Comments

Here is my post (albeit a bit late) on my thoughts on how I use blogs as tools of engagement. I’m going to blame finishing my diss. and starting a new teaching job as the reason for this, I know you (SLP) know the crazy summer I’ve had. So, no more complaining, just doing! Our article is getting so close to the finish line, I’m so excited. (I will also just plug these into our document and will send it back to you, so don’t worry about doing it!)


The benefits and drawbacks of comments for engagement

The only drawback I can think of in terms of comments is that (undergraduate) students are not quite at the level of engaging in this process organically. In my first effort at a course blog, I realized that in not asking my students to comment on each others’ work a certain number of times that they were less likely to do so. Not because they didn’t want to, but as busy undergraduates who have plenty of other assignments to complete that just didn’t seem to have the time to go there. Since then, I have always made each blog post they have to complete for credit in the course also have an attached assignment where they have to post a thoughtful comment on another peers’ work. I am really interested in exploring how I might be able to continue to foster an engaged conversation on a course blog. I like the idea of now asking students not just to comment, but also respond to comments they receive on their post. I am invested in thinking through what engagement (with course material, with peers, with me as instructor) looks like in this online forum.

How to evaluate students and give them public feedback

I want to think about not just how I use or grade blog assignments to evaluate student learning but to also think about how students engage in evaluation in a blog space to reflect on their learning. One valuable moment I had with blogging in the classroom occurred when I asked my senior GWSS students to reflect upon their writing process upon the completion of their senior projects. I see this as a space for students to construct their own tools for evaluating their learning through actively reflecting on their work. In essence, challenging the notion that students are working toward a grade alone, but rather moving throughout the semester to learn skills, tools, or ideas that they might take with them beyond the course. I also believe there must always be this space for students to evaluate themselves at minimum during the end of the course, if not multiple times throughout the semester. This way, evaluating one’s own learning encourages them to be accountable to their own learning practices as well as allowing them to publically evaluate where they are now, and what they want to think about the future of their academic journeys. This reflection aspect is key.

1 Comment to “KCF’s Engagement/Evaluation Comments”

  1. SLP says:

    I really like your comments here, KCF. I wish we had more time (and more space) in our chapter. I would enjoy directly responding to/building off of your thoughts here. Since we can’t fit it into our current writing project, I will just add them in here!

    1. I like your idea about having students follow up on comments that were posted on their entries. It makes me think of our diablog, here. This semester in my queering desire class, I am planning to have students (in groups of 2-3–I have 30 students signed-up for the class) be responsible for leading mini-diablogs based on the course readings. I’m still working out the details right now (even though class starts next week, yikes!), but I think I will have each group begin the discussion with an initial post from their group (or a bunch of posts, with one from each student in the group). Then they will be responsible for engaging with/responding to the posts from other students. All of this will take place over the period of 3-4 days and then culminate in an in-class discussion about the issues raised in the blogs.
    2. I also like your suggestion that we need to theorize what we mean by engagement and what new possibilities are available online. While I think comments are essential, I always wonder what other ways blog readers can demonstrate their engagement with the blog. For example, how can quieter students demonstrate that they are reading/engaging with the ideas? Does that demonstration always have to be online or can they engage offline too–how do we encourage that? what assignments assess offline engagement of online ideas?
    3. Finally, I like your emphasis on students evaluating themselves. When I asked my queering theory students to evaluate the course, many of them evaluated themselves in the process. Often they reflected on what they could have done better, but they also wrote about what they learned and what they did well. One question I frequently ask my students which encourages them to engage in that self-reflection is this: what advice would you give future students taking this class?