Blogging as an Unconventional Assessment

As an education major, I feel as though I’ve been trained to detect the significance of assessment format in all of my classes. Similarly to a professor subconsciously thinking every small movement in their crowd of students is a raised hand, I’m conditioned to notice how my classes are being assessed. Do we have quizzes every week, an oral presentation, a group project, and a final? Do we just have a midterm and a final? Do we have weekly discussion posts with the opportunity to miss three?

While some may look at a course syllabus, shrug, and save it to the deep dark abyss of their Downloads folder, the standard education major likely gets out their magnifying glass instead. We consider how we are being assessed and if these assessments adequately test knowledge and understanding across the board for all students. Everyone has different strengths in the classroom. The quiet kid could tank a solo oral presentation, but they could earn the highest grade on a cumulative paper test. “Smart” does not have one profile. Therefore, it’s important to consider the ways in which students are being asked to demonstrate their skills.

Okay, so now that I’ve used my soapbox for preaching, allow me to step down and actually get to my point. I really enjoy the opportunity to blog in our class. We get to blog…for a grade! Blogging is a way of writing without feeling like you’re getting an unwelcome flashback to your English Regents: you know, the one where you’re sitting in that sweaty classroom writing so fast you think your fingers will shrivel up. Blogging is accessible because it’s on WordPress: an online platform available anywhere; a fact that, in my opinion, masks the daunting feeling of writing an essay. We’re writing to a similar word count, and we’re still expected to maintain the standard conventions of English grammar, yet we’re invited to write colloquially. Like we’re having a conversation. With as many. Paragraph breaks. As we want. This doesn’t sound like a standard “assessment” to me…gee, I think I even forgot what that word means.

A list of benefits of classroom blogging could extend as long as the line in Cricket’s on a Sunday morning. It exercises student creativity, promotes self expression, promotes interaction, keeps uptake task of regular writing, improves communication skills…

On that note, a bagel and cream cheese sounds pretty good right about now.

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