Just as I suspected: this #TotalCoLearner is going to be a great exercise in HOW FAST THE SEMESTER GOES. I mean, seriously, how is it even possible that it is the end of Week 4? But it is. My students are probably facing midterms in a lot of their classes next week; I am so glad that I am not facing the same pressures that they are. In fact, just the opposite: I am really getting into my groove telling stories for class, and I am really upset with myself for the same reason: just think what an amazing pile of stories I would have if I had done this for the past umpteen years? But still: better late than never!
My story this week turned out really great; I struggled so much with the details of the opening paragraphs (but it was a good struggle; so different from struggling with abstract language: I had to really BE in Psyche's place to figure out how she carried that box)... and then when I got to the actual chain tale part of the story, it just clicked. I had never heard of these chain-of-mourner stories before this summer: and now I have written one of my own! Here it is: Psyche Lives! I am still liking the way the "featured post" widget allows that story item to appear on every page of my blog; here you can see it in the sidebar on the page with my latest tech tip posts:
I gave my students the option of NOT doing a story this week and doing a learn-about-storytelling activity instead, and that was really fascinating (something I had never done before in this specific way) -- some of the students wanted to do a story anyway, and that was the same for me also; I didn't even hesitate to write a story! But for the students who chose the other option, it was so cool: they all chose such different items from the list of options. Some watched videos, some browsed websites -- and they chose different videos and different websites as they did that. So, I felt really affirmed by the variety of options that they chose, and the next real feedback will come from seeing what students do in Week 6 when that option comes around again. Here's how that works: Story Lab.
For more about how all this is going, you can check out my Famous Last Words this week; writing those Famous Last Words is something a lot of students choose to do as extra credit, and I really see the value in it too.
I'm also enjoying the process of being a student in our Michael Bonner Book Club, but I will confess that I am feeling the same frustration with the discussion board that I always do: I see posts from people, but they are just a name on a post there. Unlike responding to a student at their blog, I find it really hard to get a sense of personal connection in a discussion board. There were two other people so far who had left posts at the discussion board, but if I click on their name, all I see is this (it's just a coincidence that neither of them has updated their Profile):
I completely understand why people don't update their profile (profile fatigue! it gets exhausting)... but at the same time, I really want Canvas to act more like a social network where all the content people are creating and contributing shows up as a stream that you could access by clicking on their name, the way that the blogs in my classes (and Ning, back in the days when I used Ning) automatically generate people-centered streams of dynamic content. In my class blog network, I really enjoy connecting with my students and seeing all their work in context, and being able to also show all my work in the context of my blog. It's hard to get that same feeling in Canvas. Doing the book club using Canvas tools like the discussion board makes me glad for the blog networks in my classes. Yes, setting up a blog network is more work, but I can definitely say that, at least for me, that extra work is worth it. You can see the blog network hopping in my classes, especially on Sunday (although I was not the only person doing work for class today, Saturday).
Happy Weekend, everybody!