Well, in the midst of another very chaotic first week, I seem to have successfully introduced courseblogs for both my graduate and undergraduate classes this term. Unsurprisingly, the most difficult part of this was simply signing people up, a process still not complete for the undergrad class. UPDATE and CORRECTION: Some students had been inadvertently choosing the “gimme a blog” option instead of the “just a username” at signup, which had caused a few people to create blogs at the same time as their accounts. Hopefully, this leetle teeny teaching glitch has been fixed for good.
The most interesting thing I’ve noticed is the fact that alert students are able to pick up on very tiny, very particular details in the online materials and run away with them. They focus on these questions a lot of the time, rather than the big picture questions I lay out during lectures. Although there’s a potential for serious digression, such comments are a challenge to respond to. They also suggest that some people are already “getting” the course framework and trying to extend it, while others are still trying to absorb all the information, which includes Swift of course. Some interesting crosstalk already developing in the grad course, too.