Following a very thought-provoking post by Alan Cann:
…I’ve been mulling it over with a coffee. His post talks about his students’ dislike for reflectve writing in blogs – mainly due to the time and thought it requires. It combines two key topics (reflection and modern, appropriate, assessment) – both of which are vital, I think, for the near future in education.
Myself and Alan have already tweeted about the difference in expectation/ease of reflection in Arts/Sciences, which means that some longer forms (blogs, wikis) do work to a certain extent in Arts subjects, contrary to Science contexts. However, this still leaves two problems: reflection for scientists (that could be a conference in its own right, no?!) and appropriate and clear assessment.
For the first, I like the idea of micro- or mini- blogging. short statements which encourage instant and secondary reflection (just finishing a class/activity, and in the evening – for example) combined with communal comparison (‘I thought bit X was really unclear: I can’t see how it fits in’ / ‘I agree – foxed me too. Anyone get it?’) We know scientists talk in single sentences 😉 so Twitter (or my proposed 300-character mini blogging service, Yakkus) might be just the thing.
For assessment, I’ve had the same problem as Alan. Complaints from students that it’s too difficult to comprehend; increasingly convoluted attempts to express it. With micro- mini- blogging, this should be easier. A string of sample tweets/yakks down the page, each with a green-yellow-red coloured bar indicating the depth of reflection and collaboration (see example at side). At-a-glance assessment guidelines.
The more I think about this, the more I like it. Any thoughts from the scientists?