Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Defining Good Web Writing

I am working on the technical questions with Bud (Thank you, Bud!!!!) so hopefully I am on my way to finding the answer to my "how" question. But I'm also thinking about the idea of bringing the process of discovering the differences between good and bad writing more in line with the underlying idea of the project. I think that rather than a Power Point that includes good and bad examples, I'd rather set up a discussion page for the purpose of writing a rubric, based on student input, to use to grade the project. It might also be a good opportunity to get the students to learn how to set up links, cut and paste examples, etc. So I think smb is right in her reservations about Power Point as a format to "deliver" my standards.

As a group, we've decided basically that we don't need a formal "protocol" beyond the guidelines that Cindy gave us at the beginning of our Mother Blog. I think that's fine for the Advanced Institute; we're all adults and we're all genuinely trying to make this work, so we're learning, discovering and building our techniques as we go. But for high school kids I really want to develop a clear set of guidelines, based on student observations (along with my observations), that will hopefully give my students (and myself) a clear idea of what their posts should look like, sound like, and contain.

7 comments:

smb said...

I think giving them examples will work again -- even from our discussions online.

I'm not sure if you want it, but when I was frustrated by my students myspace-esque behavior on Moodle, I gave them a professional email assignment. Again, they expressed their aversion, but I will say that I no longer receive emails (or read posts) with sloppy, slacker writing. Let me know if you want it, and I'll email it to you. It's nothing fancy, but it really set --or reset -- the protocol.

JC Clarke said...

I teach a professional email assignment as part of my formal business letter unit for freshmen. I would love to see what you have, I know it would help me improve what I'm doing.

I think there's a different protocol for professional email than effective web writing, but there's definitely a lot of overlap.

Bud Hunt said...

Stacey,

Do you think Moodle would be the right venue for Jason's research?

Bud Hunt said...

Jason,

I've begun a thread on my blog to talk through the technical stuff. Lots of great comments there to help you in your thinking. I'm not sure if I stated the issue correctly -- would love your input.

smb said...

I don't know how Jason feels about using Moodle. I do know that I have found it to be pretty self-sufficient since I set it up. Kids have added graphics -- posted material from home so they may access it at school (kids can't access their email accounts) -- also they have used it to turn in paperless assignments. So, I guess Jason needs to decide what he really needs [and soon! since we only have three weeks left!:)] I'm unfamiliar with the Elgg? thing you mentioned. Good luck!

Natalie said...

Jason, I hope you don't mind another voice jumping into the fray...but in reading your blog I felt the need to toss in my two cents worth. I agree with smb about the sloppy writing and spelling - but like her, personal bias and off the subject. But I do think you shouldn't discard the entire PPT idea. It's a great tool for students who miss the in-class discussion, or those students who forget the information and need a refresher. I use it for a number of assignments with my CSU class. Although it is often overused, it's a great vehicle for self-paced tutorials.

As far as writing professionally online I think it sets an important tone. If you want to be taken seriously, write seriously - if you want people to know you're just joshin' or kiddin' then a more relaxed style would help indicate this. Maybe setting a "protocol" for style will help fill the gap left when face to face contact is gone. I'd like to know when someone is being serious and when they may not be - if it's a face to face conversation body language and facial expression is there for a crutch. In an online conversation, perhaps intentional style decisions can help give us subtle clues to intent?

Cindy O-A said...

Seriously, I hope you guys are reading one anothers' blogs 'cause I just gotta say that we are setting up a serious network here. I'm amazed by how many AI blogs are speaking to one another in terms of content and research process. And I'm also amazed by the lexicon we're developing together (bud just blogged on 4/29 about how that same thing happened at an NWP conference he co-facilitated this past weekend). Pretty dang cool....