Sunday, August 31, 2008


Another Course Blogging Experiment

In the last few years, as blogs and wikis have become widespread, I've thought a lot about whether or how to employ them in the courses I teach. Last semester, when I taught Document Engineering, any topic in that course would have been an appropriate subject for this "Doc or Die" blog. So instead of setting up a new blog for the course, I had students use this blog as the course blog.

Unfortunately, I think that most of the students felt a little intimidated by the suggestion that they should be posting on their professor's blog. So except for the one time that I made it a course assignment to do so, very few students posted to Doc or Die during the semester.

We've just started up the fall semester at Berkeley, and once again I have the great privilege and responsibility to teach the only course that every student entering the Master's Program in the School of Information has to take this semester. The course is titled "Information Organization and Retrieval," which is the name given to it when the school started over a decade ago, but it is significantly broader in scope that that. Many of the topics that come up in the course would be appropriate for "Doc or Die," but not all of them.

So this time, we've set up a new blog dedicated to the IO & IR course, and the first assignment for students is to post a news story that concerns a topic in the course (I wanted them to start seeing how IO & IR are deeply embedded in the world they live in, and to take a closer look at the course syllabus). This seems to be working – they are busy posting away this weekend. I suspect I'll end up blogging here about posts my students make over there… or would it make more sense just to comment on their posts on their blog rather than on mine? I guess that would be another experiment.

-Bob Glushko

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it make more sense just to comment on their posts on their blog rather than on mine? I guess that would be another experiment.
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