Blogger of the Week Reflection

*Revised on June 16, 2015
For the blogger of the week posts, not including my own, I commented 10 times on the following blogs:
Alex Egorov—Why You Should Start Reading (http://aegorov5534.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/03/09/why-you-should-start-reading/)
Brianna Griffith—In a New World (http://bgriffit5407.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/04/19/in-a-new-world-blogger-of-the-week-post/)
Cameron Hildrop—Extremophiles and How They Can Help (http://childrop8174.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/04/08/extremophiles-and-how-they-can-help/)
Emily Repasi—Importance of Sleep for Teens (http://erepasi9082.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/05/10/importance-of-sleep-for-teens/)
Mahruf Khushmohammed—The Positive Impacts of Technology on Healthcare (http://mkhushmo4204.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/03/02/the-positive-impacts-of-technology-on-healthcare/)
Rauwn St. Jean—Robots or Kids? (http://rstjean0351.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/03/02/robots-or-kids/)
Sebastian Martin—Global Warming: Causes, Effects, And The Highly Motivated School Solution (http://smartin4237.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/04/06/blog-of-the-week-civics-civic-activism-assignment/)

I would rate my overall contributions to the blogs and the blog discussions as a ⅖. When I was present in a discussion, I believe that I had good points and that my perspective added to the discussion, however, I was rarely present to conversations and I rarely followed up with more information if the author responded to me.

CONTENT
For all of the topics I explored through fellow student’s blog posts, in most cases, my existing understanding of the topic was improved, or, I was introduced to a brand new topic I previously knew nothing about. Cameron Hildrop’s blog was a good example of that. Previously to reading his blog, I had never heard anything about the topic he had explored, and I felt he did a very good job explaining his topic to someone who had no prior knowledge. On my blog, Subhan Adli’s comment gave me a new outlook on the context of my topic; I had read about the like of existentialism and atheism, however, I hadn’t really considered the elements of existentialism that are solved by religious beliefs, and Subhan brought that to my attention.
I personally cannot pinpoint any certain times when a comment led me to more confusion than the actual post did, but that is probably because I wasn’t present in too many discussions. It was probably present in some discussions that I was not a part of though, because no system is perfect and different things lead to confusion for different people.

DISCUSSION SKILLS
I think my comments effectively highlighted things that other people had no thought to bring to the author’s attention yet. If I had something to say about a post, I would read the previous comments first to make sure that my question was not already answered in response to someone else. I would like to believe that I brought a new perspective to think about to the author. Take this discussion on Alex’s blog, for example:
Blog Screenshot (Alex)
(In the photo, when I address the second question, the question in question was “Do you believe that reading should see an increase as part of the school curriculum, and if so, why?”)
I suggested a new thought to him, one that was not mentioned in the post or by other comments, and we had a conversation about it. I would like to think that I gave him a new outlook on an element of his post. I need to improve on the amount that I actually participate. Initially, I planned to comment on all of the blogs (which obviously didn’t happen), but then things became too busy and there were too many other, more important, things to do. I ended up neglecting commenting and never getting back into it consistently, which I should have made a better effort to do.
Honestly, I cannot think of a certain time when one person’s contribution to a discussion stood out to me or helped to move the class’s understanding forward. Generally, other than skimming to make sure I didn’t waste the author’s time by repeating someone else’s question, I did not really pay much attention to any certain discussion as a whole. I definitely should have paid closer attention to advance my understanding on the topics and widen my perspectives, but I did not.
In terms of recommendations for better discussions, I would suggest to actually have discussions. Let me explain. In many cases, these “discussions” consisted of a reader commenting their opinion on the post as a whole or a specific topic mentioned in the post, and then the author replies accordingly. The only person in this setup that receives the full impact of a discussion is the author; the author is exposed to many different points of view and opinions on their topic, whilst, in most cases, the reader’s are only exposed to the author’s view point or opinion. I don’t think this makes for much of a proper discussion. I would suggest to explore other people’s comments and outlooks on the same topic would give a much rounder outlook and a potentially more developed background of information. Online discussions enable us to do this. Although, online discussions are not a bad thing; it gives people time to process and properly convey the message they are trying to send. This can be a problem in in-person conversations because you would have less time to properly think out what you are going to say because the person or people in front of you are awaiting your response. Also, if it is a discussion between multiple people, it is a lot harder to ignore someone’s outlook when they are in front of you explaining it, whereas if you do not care about a person’s opinion online, you can just scroll away from their comment and move on. Both, online and in-person, are good platforms for discussions, but one can be preferable depending on the individuals having the conversation. Some prefer in-person because it is easier to understand what the other person’s point is, because you have various means of body language to read rather than just text. Some prefer online because it makes them feel safer and calmer in their own personal environment. It is all individual preference.
I believe that overall the Blogger of the Week assignment was not a bad idea, but people lost interest in it very quickly, because they did not feel like it was enough of a priority. If you take Mahruf’s post, which was one of the posts in the first week, it has a total of 38 comments, however, if you look at Laela’s post, which was one of the ones in the most recent week, it only has 6 comments. I would suggest that adding a specific minimum amount of comments for a person to leave on other’s blogs, while still enforcing the quality of the comments, would encourage people to prioritize commenting more. And then, you could judge on the quality of the comments, and whether people fell short of, met, or exceeded the minimum goal. This will also help the students to plan when they are going to comment it so they don’t end up neglecting it and leaving it undone all together. Also, in the beginning of the year, you said that you would conference with each blogger to make sure they knew everything that needed to be done, however, you stopped doing this very quickly, and just left a pdf on your website, one that many people didn’t know was there. I would suggest either a) making time to conference with everyone to make sure they’re on track and informed on the elements of the assignment, or b) from the beginning, don’t conference with anyone individually, unless they come to you asking for help, and let the entire class know that there is a specific outline they should be following, and to come to you with any questions or concerns about it.


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