March 16, 2013
Reflecting on building a blog
Building a blog has revealed a few things about myself as a learner as well as a person. Initially, I was not sure about having a blog; after all, I have multiple places to store files already and the move to create another was unsettling. Had the site been tenuous to navigate or frustrating to manipulate, I likely would not have pursued it. Having just set up my website, I was not in the mood for anything to be demanding. In these two courses, much has been new for me. While I am a curious person, I have also felt overloaded at times. Investigating faculty resistance and loading it to my blog was an ironic start. The experience, however, has been positive. Grading this experience and the blog itself has not been straightforward but I’ll offer my interpretation of http://www.emmaboublog.wordpress.com .
As I created pages and started loading them, momentum built and it became automatic when I read something or found a tool to add to the pages. As the purpose is for me to have a professional space, I struggled with how much personal identification I would be revealing. Initially, I didn’t think anyone would really read it, so the first assignment was posted. As this was meant for you to read, it was a personal narrative that included opinions about my university. When I looked at the page a few days ago, it was the first time I considered that I had made public something I would rather not so I deleted it. I wondered why I wouldn’t have considered that before. Guadagno, Okdie and Eno (2007) explore personality traits bloggers might have. I found it of interest that…
individuals experiencing high public self-awareness are likely to be concerned with their public appearance and impression management. Contrary to public self-awareness, private self-awareness is characterized by an individuals’ intense focus on their own thoughts and feelings (Franzoi &Davis, 1985; Prentice-Dunn & Rogers, 1982). An individual high in private self-awareness is less focused on other individuals due to his or her spotlight of attention being focused on
internal states thus limiting attentional resources that can be devoted elsewhere. It is heightened private self-awareness that is reported in anonymous online interactions. Because of the absence of others’ nonverbal cues when interacting online individuals focus more on themselves and less on their audience or discussion partners. Applied to blogging, this suggests that individuals may report information on their blogs with less regard to how others may perceive it.
Both of these descriptors fit. My public self-awareness means that whatever I produce and make public needs to be a certain level of quality. At this stage of the blog, I would not identify it as being very high in relation to the grading rubric which values the ability to upload multimedia. As I am new to this, my entries have been literature or teaching strategies and resources that I can keep in one place. I am comfortable with what others will view if I send them to this site, because it mimics what I would have shared in other formats. The public self-awareness and need to appear professional is probably holding me back from experimenting with the blog. My private self-awareness has just recently been revealed. When I reread the first entry that included details about my university, it was the first time that realized that it could be interpreted as a criticism and if a colleague read it or a potential employer read it, it may have a negative outcome. Considering I had added the blog to my e-portfolio, I was now realizing that this was probably not a good idea because I had not considered others’ perceptions. This is the reason I took the post down. In future posts, I’ll have to take more time to consider what and how I post. This is valuable learning.
My initial grumbling about having another storage place has been replaced with sense of accomplishment. As I created various pages, I realized that this would be much easier to keep favorites on the web and references for professional development in one place. With three computers active, it will take some time to move it all to the blog, but I can see that it will save me time. It’s kind of like having a Refworks file with bibliographic information in one spot so that I don’t have to find the article over and over again if I want to cite it. It is a process in terms of deciding the categories to include. My aim was to distinguish those categories that are important to me at this stage such as web 2.0 tools, videos, teaching ideas which are strategies. Other pages such as academic and intercultural are more research and theoretical. I’m sure the pages will change over time as I develop an understanding of how the blog will serve me best. It is also a shift of behavior. I went through a period of time when as I found resources, I uploaded. Then it became less automatic. Yesterday I realized that it needs to be habitual. A list serve poster asked for help with using ipads with middle school students. I remembered the tool I had shared with the class but could not remember the website. It took me an hour to search the web and our discussions to find it so that I could pass it on. I recognized the value of ‘filing’ immediately.
The personal gains from building emmaboublog.wordpress.com will likely continue and make sense as I read more about online learning and reflect from the perspective of an educator and student. And, of course learn to work with more online tools that will be added.
My experiences are easy to evaluate, but the blog itself is less so. Even the tone of writing changes here as I shift to the role of examiner. Required are my name and description of the blog which are present. The description is brief, perhaps too brief. I suspect this is another example of the private self-awareness. I like the design and colors; the banner is the visual I created in EDUC 4150. The blog entries are disconnected, and probably need a better title for each if I want to invite conversation. Pages, however, are clearly titled and are subtitled as I add various sources. These are the technical aspects to consider when evaluating the blog.
The other aspect is where it belongs on the rubric. In the PD blog section, it is not a 4 because there are not multiple multimedia examples. It is not a 3 because there are not multiple multimedia examples. It’s not a 2 because all, not some, of the entries exist and assessment of those entries has been that they are high quality. Looking at the rubric raises some concerns. In the PD blog section, two things are being evaluated: entries and tools. It is difficult for me to know whether to put the weighting on the first or the second. I would have to say that my blog would be a 2.5, if that is a possibility. In the organization and layout section my blog could be either a 3 or 4. To me it is organized, but perhaps not to someone else. As I have close to zero experience with blogs, it’s difficult to say whether it looks professional or not, so it would probably fall in the 3 category. In the writing skills section, I am certain that there is an error here or there that does not impede understanding, so it too is a 3. There is another question of how to use the rubric. If I evaluate the writing skills as a 3, then I have to also assess it in relation to the 8.5, 9 or 9.5 categories. I don’t see specific details for each of these number designations. This occurs for the organization and layout section as well. I’m left to assess the blog subjectively.
In terms of evaluating my learning, I would say it is A+. In terms of creating a professional blog for myself, I would say it’s between an A- and an A if the evaluation is based on quantity. I have learned I can overcome reluctance to incorporate more technology into my teaching, and that I am capable of learning to use tools and create electronic spaces that can be used for myself and can be shared with others. My technical skills are in the beginning stages. I think the quality I have produced is reflective of an upper level grade.
Guadagno, Rosanna E., Okdie, Bradley M., Eno, Cassie A. (2007) Who blogs? Personality predictors of blogging. Retrieved from http://www.elsevier.com/locate/comphumbeh
February 18, 2013 Assessment
Intercultural Communication: This lesson starts face to face and then goes online. Edward T. Hall said, “Culture hides much more than it reveals” ( ). A common assumption with my students in this class is that language is the primary challenge they will face when teaching ESL students. In this lesson students explore their assumptions of what culture is and analyse how an everyday activity can be loaded with cultural aspects that they may never have considered. After the baseline (Assessment 1) is completed, students will explore cultural maps. A cultural map is a set of ‘rules’ one follows in an everyday activity such as taking the elevator; the first is f2f in order to scaffold for those students who may not be familiar with this kind of interactive activity. The second is individual. This sets students up for further academic study of theory and models of intercultural communication.
Post degree learners taking a Teaching ESL certificate program
Learners are international exchange students from Chile, Spain (bilingual)
Domestic students who include immigrants from China and Germany
Public school teachers aged 25- 60
Undergrad students in their last semester of business, tourism and arts programs
(this group includes a range of boomers, gen x, y, z and international students)
The objective of this lesson is for students to understand that culture is learned and a complex set of ‘rules’ that are not necessarily obvious. There will be 3 assessment items.
Assessment 1: Students respond to the question: what is culture?
Assessment- completion of an articulate answer that is no more than 5 sentences. Complete earns ‘complete’
Rationale: This is a baseline assessment of knowledge so it does not require a grade; also, there is an opportunity for intervention if I feel the response needs to be revised for clarity, or depth. The international students are supported by not having to worry about losing marks as they begin to navigate me as a teacher. Because students will bring various lived experiences, responses may vary from naïve to insightful and it is not the knowledge that I am seeking to assess.
Assessment 2: Immediately after the face to face cultural map task, students engage in an online forum to describe and explain a different cultural map of their choice (e.g. standing in a line up).
Part one- Identify- who it involves, the context and the rules of the map (do/don’t)
Explain- why you think the rules exist
Part 2- Respond to 2 peers in a way that helps them dig deeper into their understanding of their map. Each person may only be in conversation with 2 others to start and must complete the entries within a week. Once all students have 2 discussion partners they are free to engage with other students.
Assessment: Identification, explanation includes all parts: 5 marks
Responses lead to deeper exploration/or explanation: 5 marks
Rationale: Students have autonomy to choose a cultural map which allows them to work with content they are comfortable with, and culture specific. For students unfamiliar with the online environment, this reduces stress as they practice using the tool and communicating in writing only. Limiting the number in the group can help focus conversations which can build trust and rapport. Having a timeline helps guide students and makes it manageable for me to engage in the forums and step in if necessary.
Assessment 3: Students analyse and revise their understanding of what culture is Criteria:
Refer to the first explanation of what culture is. Revise your explanation, including reasons for the changes. Refer to any of the forum discussions and your own thoughts.
Assessment: Student articulates a deeper understanding of the complexity of culture. 10 marks
This is a formative assessment done at the beginning of the course. This assessment is based on a model known as KWL: What do I know, what do I want to know, what have I learned. As intercultural communication learning is a process (citation), there needs to be scaffolding and multiple opportunities for students to check in with their learning. This assessment does not grade communication skills per se. It formatively assesses students metacognition and critical thinking. So, completion of a task and an ability to articulate what is going on for the student is the focus of the lesson and the evaluation.
Students only lose marks if they are off topic, don’t complete or are inappropriate online (these agreements/understandings would be known prior to the lesson)
**My involvement in the forum would be to acknowledge an effective question/statement and to paraphrase/clarify where I sense a miscommunication.