Saturday, March 03, 2012

Try, try again.

Jared The Thinker

This is a description of my unsuccessful attempt  to motivate the students in my online, graduate school course to write more insightful blog posts.  The course I teach is about integrating technology into the k-12 classroom. and the posts are usually reactions to specific Internet tools that the students had tried out in each mod.  After reading two of Daniel Pink's books, A Whole New Mind and Drive, about motivation, I decided to try to encourage students to give each other Kudos for exceptional blog posts.

Here is the situation.  Students were required to post to their individual blogs one or two times for each mod.  All students who posted on time (with good links, an image and multiple tags) received the same score.  However, the result is that those who blogged with really insightful ideas and those who did the minimum received the same score. 

I did not want to use a rubric because I feel there is too much subjectivity involved in judging "insightful ideas" and because it would require reading each blog post with much more scrutiny to arrive at a score.  As all teachers who evaluate essays know, this is a very time-consuming process.  So I decided to have the students give each other kudos for great posts and I created a Kudos forum in the learning management system.  Let mention that the students were not required to read each other's posts, but it was very easy to do so, since they each had a blog role of the blogs of all their classmates on their own blogs.

The result was very disappointing.  In the Kudos forum on the learning management system, there were very few kudos.  I wrongly supposed that a sort of competitive spirit would encourage students to try to write great posts in order to receive the adulation of their classmates and that they would read at least some of their classmate's posts in order to see how theirs compared.  That didn't happen.

I am rethinking the event and going to revamp it in some form in the future.  Any ideas would be most welcome.