As part of Austin College’s most recent Strategic Plan, we are working toward increasing digital literacy, communication skills, and demonstration of transferable skills. As online communication has become increasingly important in a variety of industries over recent years (especially advertising), it is vital that our students understand how to use the web to reach out to others. To this end, I decided to incorporate student blogging into my General Psychology (PSY 101) course to replace the short reflection papers read only by me or the comment boards in our learning management system I’ve used in the past. We tried this for the first time in Fall, 2014 and it seemed to be a success.
Now that a few of the kinks have been worked out, we’re upping the stakes a little bit. I want my students to think more broadly about the reach of psychology and the power of communication than the confines of our classroom. I hope this encourages students to share their ideas to a more diverse audience of other students, faculty, professional psychologists, and random strangers. I furthermore hope they will find a receptive audience who will ponder difficult questions, challenge assumptions, and ask for clarification about what they are discovering in the classroom and their readings. That’s where you come in…
I’ve attached a PDF which contains links to the blog for each student in this semester’s class. I post the writing prompts for each week here on this blog, so you can see what kinds of questions they will be responding to each week. They will be commenting on each others’ blogs as part of the course requirements, but I encourage you to read students’ blogs and offer comments, reactions, resources, and/or questions to their posts. Given the way the assignments work in this course, students are not required to post new material every week, but have to make at least 8 posts throughout the semester. Following blogs you like is a great way to keep up with new content, or you can keep checking back here to see which responses I highlight every week.
A few blogs may be set to private, which means the student decided to only share the material with his or her classmates and you will not be able to view the content without first requesting access. Please respect the students’ rights to choose not to allow you access to their work.
We’re already a couple weeks into the semester, so the students have made some posts already. I’ve summarized the responses to the students’ Introductory prompt here, but you can check out each student’s individual posts using the links in the attached PDF. I’ve also attached the course syllabus to this post so you get a sense of what we’ll be talking about this semester. Highlights of student suggestions to improve an in-class experiment and exploring the relationship between historical figures’ lives and their theories are also available, and more summaries and highlights will be posted each week.
I hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to interact with these fine students and join us as we explore the field of psychology!