Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Web 2.0 for teaching -- my first experiment (3)

So, to take stock. How do I feel my first use of Web 2.00 for teaching worked out? Would I do it again? If so, what would I do differently?

Despite the shaky start and the relatively poor participation figures, I felt very encouraged by this Web 2.0 exercise. Week 10 -- as I'd always realised -- was rather late in the semester to be trying something new with the students. Many of them, by that stage of term, had already decided to write their essays on texts and topics we had addressed in earlier weeks, and so had little incentive to try anything new. On the other hand, I was very impressed by the commitment of those students who, despite not intending to write on either Behn or editing, did take the trouble to participate in the exercise. We saw the beginning of some very interesting discussions within the Google doc itself, and these helped to stimulate a very well-informed debate in the seminar. And the student who chose to write on editing issues got the opportunity to try out some of her ideas, to benefit from feedback, and to ask questions.

If the course runs again next year, I do intend to try a version of this exercise again. I will avoid the email address problem by setting up a new Googlemail account exclusively for teaching purposes. More importantly, I will introduce Web 2.0 exercises much earlier in the semester: possibly as early as week 2. I am also toying with the idea of spending three weeks on Aphra Behn next year, planning separate seminars on her poetry, prose and drama, and using a version of this year's Web 2.0 task in the preparations for the poetry week. Revised in the light of this year's experience, it should work better a second time.

So I am heartily encouraged by my first experience of using Web 2.0 for teaching, and fully intend to try again.