Today, I realized that I could have multiple contributors to a Word Press blog. This opens numerous possibilities for the classroom because I can now create a class blog in which all students are able to participate.
Because I wanted to combine two different sections of ENG 102 for the Ocelot Scholars project, I am unable to use the college’s BlackBoard course management system. Word Press will allow me to combine all of the students into one conversation. Furthermore, I will be able to incorporate individuals from outside of class into the discussion as contributors as well as comenters. This will help facilitate discussion.
Having a Word Press blog for a single class has other possibilities as well. For example, discussions and questions could take place in a class blog which is open for anyone to see. Outside individuals could also be involved in interacting with students. For example, in HIST 137 (early modern world), students are reading a series of essays by Dr. Glenn S. Sunshine. Dr. Sunshine could be invited to participate in various discussions and might even be willing to post a blog entry there as well as the other venues he uses to promote his work.
Recently, my friend Dan Duso took an interest in the poverty discussion I have proposed for HIST 137. There is no reason that he could not be approved as a contributor to the blog and to interact with students. And another friend, the Reverend David Grant Smith might also have much to contribute. And other friends or friends of friends might also become involved.
Over the years, my colleague Mark Harris and I have talked about the feasibility of joining students in our classes for mutual discussions. Word Press might offer a possibility. For example, during the 2012 Winter semester, his film students and my film students could share information in a film blog.
A final thought I had was that a Word Press blog with multiple contributors could be a viable way to have discussions within a department or on a project. For example, could we use this as a tool to discuss issues relevant to the history department? Or what about the International Institute? Or maybe there is just a topic that faculty and students want to address?
None of these ideas have been clearly thought out. But though out the day, my mind has been spinning with possibilities.
Using Word Press, I created an Ocelot Scholars blog and have spent part of the day testing it with the help of Mark Harris, David Grant Smith, and Frank Teevin. There is still more work to accomplish before the blog is fully functional, but the framework is there and the framework appears to be working just fine.
I have also been drafting the on-line materials that will appear on my website, but they have not been uploaded yet.