Process Writing and the Blog

White, Edward M. and Cassie A. Wright. “Assigning, Responding, Evaluating: A writing Teacher’s Guide 5th ed.” Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s, 2016. Print.

I read a lot of blog posts everyday. Mommy blogs, higher ed blogs, ed tech blogs – and everyday I notice an editing or argument issue. Sometime I stop reading a post due to argument structure issues, sometimes the typos drive me nuts (we all have them so I’m not judging). Given the vastness of the internet these small issues are microscopic! However, the average blog isn’t diluted by the entire internet, especially when blogs are used in the classroom.

In my Capstone undergrad courses I require students to create and regularly post to a blog. Students record gamified posts and theory posts, providing space for students to develop public writing. Here’s where I’m becoming conflicted – I want them to develop – develop! – public writing. Emphasis on process. However, as I grade their blogs what I’m seeing instead is product focused. We discuss theory, they write and post – publically post. I assign a series of quests exploring the theory, then grade the product. There are no rough drafts, the brainstorming sessions are publicly posted and often not extensively revised.

So as I read White and Wright’s discussion of meaningful assignments that demonstrate the importance of process I realized how off the mark my blog assignment feels. I still like the ideas of students writing publically, and see the need for this approach to ’21st century learning and writing’ but feel I have sacrificed process because blogs are understood as such final, published, product writing.

Now I’m considering ways of using White and wright’s chapter 6 on e-portfolio’s to help students develop – truly develop their public writing. I don’t have the answer for a trial implementation yet….that will come in a later post, but wanted to begin the conversation and thinking about blogs as process, and how process will be perceived outside the course in this public writing space. While I often note and outline my posts, then revise right before publishing – I don’t spend the amount of time revising here that I do on a journal article. And yet, this writing is so accessible that it’s an easy way to evaluate me as a writer. It represents blossoming ideas that are cornerstone in academia – we are judged on our ideas and the dissemination of knowledge. So I can quickly and easily disseminate, but spend less time revising. Is that the right outlook for blogs? Why am I surprised by the public writing of students when my attitude and ideologies for the space mirror theirs? What would I be asking for, ideologically, in incorporating process into blogging?

More on this in posts to come as I consider how to implement portfolio assessment into blog posts – not just to address grading but to help students use their blog moving toward post-graduation work.



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