Judy Robinson, Mindy McAdams and I were the panel at the end of the afternoon — talking about Strategic Blogging. The three of us all are part of the Journalism Department’s faculty at University of Florida and all teaching blogging in different courses in the curriculum.
In talking together about what to do in our 50-minute session, we decided to discuss how we were teaching blogging in each of our classes. Our discussion illustrates Jerome Bruner’s concept of the spiral curriculum, where a concept can be taught in more depth in successive courses.
The students are introduced to blogging and start their own blog in my class, the introductory writing course for journalism, public relations and advertising students. The students often reactive their blogs and incorporate them into the Web sites they create with Judy in Communication on the Internet — a 3000-level elective. The students then maintain a full-semester (twice-a-week) blog as part of Online Reporting, an upper division elective course with Mindy.
Issues we discussed in our presentations and with the group’s comments and questions:
What topics should students be able to blog about? In my introductory class, students are blogging about their reporting experience in the course. In both Judy’s and Mindy’s courses, the students are encouraged to blog on a topic of personal interest to the individual student — but with approval by the instructor.
Betsy Rau, an adjunct faculty member at Michigan State and Central Michigan, told of one of her students whose class blog about underage drinking wound up creating media attention when the student wrote on her blog about political social events that provided alcohol to underage students.
That was a real reminder to all of us that blogs are out there and can have consequences way beyond most classroom assignments.