Monday, December 03, 2007

Update: class on Monday and Albany

Hello all, both those of you who were in class today and those of you who weren't,

Class on Monday, December 3rd -
For those of you who did not attend, we discussed the criteria for evaluating web sources and then had a debate on print vs. virtual sources. The debate got lively at times because people were doing a good job at defending their arguments. I closed up both debates by summarizing the fact that we can appreciate what both sources have to offer us and have to have a critical approach to evaluating sources in any context, but especially on the Web. The Web offers anyone with an Internet connection access to knowledge, but you have to know how to find the right knowledge. Thanks to all of you who spoke out during the debates and to those of you who contributed your ideas but didn't necessarily speak.

Then we did some peer review from groups G (2.30 group) and H (4.00 group). I had you all do the peer review because I wanted to see the kinds of mistakes you were able to correct in each other's works. A few things came out of this exercise:
1 - As Berg (1999) says, students often find that it is actually easier to correct a peer's work and find where meaning is unclear rather than effectively correct what they themselves have written. I was surprised to see the kinds of things you were able to identify as 'wrong' even if you didn't always come up with the right correction. This would seem to indicate that your 'ears' are working well.
2 - Referring to the same quote, it's hard to identify when what you've written is unclear because you know what you intended to say. This is the advantage of having peers read your work.
3 - Peer correction is no easy task. It's important to learn both how to give constructive peer feedback without being offensive as well as to receive peer feedback without feeling offended. We all have something to learn from each other - that's an important point to remember.
4 - The aim of this blogging course so far has been on accuracy and communication. Clearly you are able to effectively communicate even without complete accuracy and that's not only the aim in this course, but an achievement in and of itself. Your informal writing has certainly made progress.
All this to say that what we've done so far in the course is prep for next semester when the focus will be on accuracy and peer feedback ;-) get ready!

Padova-Albany Exchange
Unlike some of our more clever students, I had not noticed that the Americans had started discussions in the Padova-Albany Presentations forum. There's one on Thanksgiving, one on the education system and one on final exams. If you haven't already been there, go check it out. Please reply if you feel you have something to add. There's no guarantee the Americans will reply at this point as they have final exams and finish up this week (see what they have to say about this), but they will read you and appreciate anything you have to add.
It was our first experience collaborating and it's always a bit rough around the edges the first time so thanks for being guinea pigs for the experiment.
As part of their final exam for the course, they have to do presentations. Their teacher will post their presentations to the Web so that we will be able to take a look at the kind of work they do.

See you all Wednesday!


No comments: