Blogs vs. Term Papers

While I’m not quite ready to ditch the traditional term paper, students in most of my classes use blogs for brainstorming, prewriting, reflection, and synthesis; I encourage students to post new media artifacts as part of a “creative criticall presentation” in lit and media classes. For freshman writing, I stick fairly closely to a shared syllabus that does not make new media composition a core part of any assignent (though, as my colleagues have grown accustomed to the school’s MacBook/iPad technology plan, they have all expressed increasing willingness to include mutimodal composition in the course goals).

Here’s hoping that the latest news article about how technology  is changing traditional educational methods and goals will genereate positive discussion, rather than “Think of the children!!” panic, burn-the-bridges progressivism, and “card catalogs were good enough for my generation” reactioinism.

“This mechanistic writing is a real disincentive to creative but untrained writers,” says Professor Davidson, who rails against the form in her new book, “Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn.”

“As a writer, it offends me deeply.”

Professor Davidson makes heavy use of the blog and the ethos it represents of public, interactive discourse. Instead of writing a quarterly term paper, students now regularly publish 500- to 1,500-word entries on an internal class blog about the issues and readings they are studying in class, along with essays for public consumption. —Blogs vs. Term Papers –