Blogger of the week Reflection

 

Thompkins-Jones, Relando, “13 Compelling Social Work Blogs,” January 4, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2015 from http://www.relandothompkins.com/2013/01/04/13-compelling-social-work-blogs/

How often did you participate: I commented 36 times on other people’s blogs/their post for their blogger of the week. Also, I replied to all of the comments on all of my blog posts, including my blogger of the week which had a total of 25 comments (13 of which were mine.)

Discussion blog title(s) and author(s): I have commented on every single blogger of the week post which includes:

  1. Child Vaccination – Do or Don’t?  By Trent A.
  2. Online vs. Offline By Clarissa D.
  3. The Ekati Diamond Mine By Glafki C.
  4. Human’s the Economy, and a Whole Lot of Inquiring By Jeremy W. 
  5. Existentialism By Katherine B. 
  6. The water and sanitation crisis By Kissmuth K.
  7. Should 16 years olds be able to Vote in Canada? By Najib H.
  8. Nuclear Throne, and what makes a video game fun By Thomas P.
  9. The Armenian Genocide By Abiha H.
  10. Is School Stressing You Out? By Adam S.
  11. Male infertility vs. Female infertility By Aisha T. 
  12. In A New World By Brianna G.
  13. Extremophiles and How They Can Help By Cameron H.
  14. Space Colonization: Mars and Venus By Elliot I.
  15. Importance of Sleep for Teens By Emily R.
  16. Sinkholes By Esther Y.
  17. Is Organic Farming Really Better? By Jaimee P.
  18. Freedom? To An Extent… By Liam M.
  19. Concussions in Contact Sports By Nilsu E.
  20. What is a Search Engine? By Mohammed M.
  21. Global Warming: Causes, Effects, And The Highly Motivated High School Solution By Sebastian M.
  22. Why You Should Start Reading By Alex E.
  23. Robots or Kids? By Rauwn S.
  24. The Positive Impacts of Technology on Healthcare By Mahruf K.

Please provide a rating for YOUR overall contributions to discussions [ 1 (poor) – 5 (excellent) ] 

I give myself a 4.5/5. This is because I commented on everyone’s blogger of the week post. Furthermore, I answered any of the questions that they had asked, and if they didn’t ask any questions, I left a rather lengthy paragraph or few describing my thoughts on the topic. Even if the post didn’t interest me, I still read through all of the post and got to the end. This is because I wanted to learn, and help my fellow classmates improve on their writing and ultimately enhance their post. Also, I wanted to reply back to the people who commented on my own posts so that I could help them dig deeper into their topics and really stretch their thinking. Additionally, I always checked back a day or two after posting a comment to see if the person had replied. Furthermore, I asked the authors of the post some questions if I wasn’t sure about something, and told them to fix common errors like punctuation and improper formatting. Finally, I also read other blog posts separate from blogger of the week ones, but unfortunately did not comment on them (because it’s a lengthy process.) For those reasons, I chose to give myself a 4.5/5.

CONTENT

1. Is there some aspect of the topic, results, conclusions, or concepts for which you gained a deeper understanding of through the blog discussion? Was there some aspect of the posts you explored that you had not thought of or that you ‘learned’ about from the discussion? In other words, what aspect of the post was clarified or illuminated as a result of the blog discussion?

Most definitely, reading through the blog comments which eventually turned into a discussion really did bring up points that the author had to address. This is because everyone has their own ideas, and contributed their share to the conversation which was really exciting! For example, on Trent’s post on child vaccination, a parent added her own struggles with the issue. It’s easy to say to take the vaccine or not to when you’re not the parent. It’s completely different when you’re actually put into that position because as she said, “there is emotional angst that develops in parents as you never want to do something that potentially causes your child irrefutable damage.” This really opened my eyes and allowed me to understand the topic from someone else’s point of view/perspective. Comments where people added their own personal experiences helped the discussion continue which was great!

2. Were there aspects of the discussions that led to more confusion for you compared to when you read the blog post alone? Was the confusion resolved through discussion? Please explain (make specific reference to the blogs involved ­ direct quotations may be appropriate ­reference the author).

No, I never felt more confused after reading the comments after finishing the blog post. If someone was confused about something, they would ask a question and the author would reply with the answer or would clarify something. For example, on Esther’s blogger of the week post for sinkholes, Brianna asked if the number she had stated for the total amount of deaths as a result of sinkholes was an accurate number or just an approximation. Esther replied by saying that it was just an approximation, because death by falling into sinkholes is rare, therefore, it is hard to determine. People replied to the author’s questions, found an interesting article, video, or something else and shared it for everyone to see which allowed us to answer any questions that introduced our peers to new information on the topic. Therefore, the comments never led to confusion, only to enrichment!

DISCUSSION SKILLS

3. Evaluate your role in the Blogger of the Week discussions, in particular please answer the following two questions: What did you do that was effective at contributing to the discussion(s)? Be specific (adding screenshots of your contributing or copying to your blog may be appropriate). What areas do you need improvement in?

As mentioned before, I commented 13/25 comments on my blogger of the week post. Therefore, I replied back to everyone and even added a little bit more information/extended my reply. If any of my peers had questions, I replied to it. Furthermore, if they were confused, I clarified what needed to be made more clear. I made sure to answer every part of their question/their comment. I guaranteed that there would be a good discussion on my post because I typed out five thinking questions that really got my peers to think about my post and its impact on the world. These were the questions:

  1. Will you continue to buy clothing made from companies who use sweatshops? Why or why not?
  2. What do you think are some other alternatives to using sweatshops?
  3. Do you think this is a worthy cause to support? Why or why not?
  4. Has this post changed your perspective on the priorities of large companies?
  5. What was the most interesting/shocking fact that you have learned from reading this post?

I could have improved by asking my peers question backs after replying to their comment, this would had helped the conversation to continue. Lastly, I could have researched some more information, or found a video that helped answer some questions/clarify some points.

4. Can you think of a contribution from another student that stood out in your mind that helped move the discussion along or help the class to move to a deeper understanding of the material? What did the student do? (no need to mention names, just describe what the students did or said).

I found that adding a link or a video to the discussion page really enhanced the conversation. On my own blog, Sebastian really contributed well to the conversation. Not only did he answer my question, he found a video that explained the influence of brand names on the general public, and the followed with a question for me. This was impactful because I was able to reply to his comment, learn more about sweatshops from the video, and go out and research to answer his question. This significantly improved the learning process for all who contributed. 

5. Do you have any recommendations to the class as a whole to improve class discussions? How are discussions different in an online space versus those held face­-to­-face? How are they similar?

I would encourage the class to try to comment on everyone’s blog, especially if they commented on yours. Adding videos or external links, as I said, improves discussions. Furthermore, researching the topic a little and asking the author a question can really stretch their thinking. This is a lot of work, but hey, it’s worth it! You don’t have to do this all the time, but if a topic interests you, why not? Discussions are different online versus those held face-to-face in many ways. For one, when you comment online, you have to wait until the other person replies, well, that’s if you get one. Furthermore, you don’t know the tone of the person’s voice talking/replying to you. A pro to commenting online is that you get to research the topic and reply with a good amount of detail. In real life, the conversation can still be good, and could even lead to a debate which extends thinking and inquiry. 

6. What are your overall thoughts of the Blogger of the Week assignment? Do you have any suggestions for me moving forward to either: a) improve the assignment; or b) revise the structure, delivery, or scheduling of the assignment itself? Be specific as your opinions will be very helpful for me as I plan for future classes.

I enjoyed the blogger of the week assignment. I liked how we got to pick our own topic to explore, and teach/inform others on it! You could improve the assignment by setting strict deadlines. I felt you were a bit too lenient with people who didn’t post their blogger of the week on time. This lead to multiple, even up to 5 “blogger of the weekers” I guess you could call them, in one week which was overwhelming. This was especially the case when we had to comment on them, and was a part of our mark. I liked how it was for the full year, but I did find that people did tend to get lazy towards the end of the year and even the people who were blogger of the week that week didn’t reply back. Therefore, you could put more emphasis on commenting on blogs and possibly make it worth more (count more for their mark for the post.) 

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