Sociology Blogging - Never Too Soon

May 8, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

I’m thinking of assigning blogs as coursework next time around. Jenn Lena at Vanderbilt created a sort of group blog, My Sociological Imagination, with different teams of students posting each week. Students were also required to comment regularly on other’s posts. (The seven percent solution – 7% of the final grade for the blog post, 7% for comments.) Jenn says that the blog posts were better than what students in past semesters wrote when she gave the same assignments as papers. Maybe it was because students knew that their work was going to be read carefully by their classmates, not just the teacher. (Read Jenn’s evaluation here, specs for the assignment here – both useful.)

I was impressed by the Vanderbilt students. But if I do shift to blogs, it will probably be because of the kids in Mrs. Castelli’s class in a high school outside Chicago. I can’t remember how I happened on Mrs. Castelli’s blog, but it has links to her students’ blogs, so I browsed through them.

I’m guessing that blogging was optional since barely a dozen a kids in two periods have blogs, but the ones that did create their own blogs seem to have fun with them. A couple of the kids just seem to like writing as a kind of public performance. All the bloggers seemed to enjoy the visual aspect – playing around with the different Blogger formats and including pictures (one kid illustrates nearly every post, regardless of topic, with a picture of a sleek car). I think the most successful assignment was the one that apparently asked them to compare photos from two eras and look for changes in cultural ideals. The boys mostly chose athletes, the girls preferred models or actresses.

So, at least when it comes to blogging, the kids are all right. And maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, these kids have never known a world without the Internet. Putting your ideas about sociological concepts out there in a blog for the world to see isn’t much different from creating and customizing your page on MySpace or Facebook. Now if only they could learn to use their spell-checkers.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sociology blogging is becoming more and more popular among bloggers. It is evident.
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