Monday, April 11, 2011

Blogs as a Teaching Tool in Philosophy

A interesting essay on how to effectively use blogs as a teaching tool for undergraduate students. The author suggests that implementation of blogs encourages students to use "I" in their philosophical writing as well as creating discussion.

Blogs were initially developed as online diaries, and most college students still associate blogs with their own inward monologues. The blog medium softens students' resistance to using the philosophical "I" in their writing, since they are accustomed to bloggers expressing their own views and taking personal responsibility for such. Blogs bridge the personal "I" of a diary with the philosophical "I" of an argument offered in public debate. Once these public debates are posted online, the ease of using "I" -- and meaning it -- makes students more confident that they are capable of having their own views.

The effectiveness of blogs for philosophical debate increases when each student has his or her own blog. It is better to give each student a blog than to have all students participate in a single blog; not only do students write more, but they argue more creatively. When students have to post a blog that is in competition with other students' blogs, students become attentive to which blogs attract and generate the most interesting and heated debates in the course. They scan the various blogs posted by other students and keep returning to the blogs that have the best debates. When commenting on others' blogs, students not only aim to make their points in those debates but seek to entice readers back to their own blog. Students spend more time and thought on their individual blogs in order to keep it popular, and they also take care when commenting on others' blogs because they want reciprocal visits to their own blog.

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