I'm playing catch-up. Because my life has spun out of control with football season. Despite living through many winning seasons at Alabama (cause we ain't never been nothin' but winners) it never ceases to amaze me how much there is to do in such a short amount of time. All the preparing, planning, buying, merchandising, marketing, advertising, meeting...lots of meetings...and then just like that - it's over. Well, except it isn't over now. Because Alabama just won the SEC Championship (in one of the best games of college football I've seen in a long time, I might add), and now we're headed to the BCS National Championship game to play Notre Dame. So we get to do it all over again! Yay! I'm equal parts "Yay" and "Ugh," if you want to know the truth. Because once again, my job is getting in the way of my studying and reading and writing. It's a challenge I've dealt with for almost five years now, so you would think I could balance it all by now. And I know all this juggling will one day pay off. Right? Please say it will pay off. OK, so I'll figure it out. Because as I mentioned, we ain't never been nothin' but winners. Roll Tide!
I believe the big question for week 10 concerns the advantages and disadvantages of using blogs in a class I plan on teaching. For the sake of these assignments, I am considering teaching an online course in retail management, and as I mentioned here, I think a blog would be a great way to keep the dialogue open in this course. In my opinion, blogs are an excellent way to develop community in your course when you don't have the benefit of face to face interaction. Students (and instructors) seem to be more open and relaxed in a blog than on a message board - an environment that could lead to deeper thought and more conversation about the subject at hand. Of course, this advantage could also be seen as a disadvantage if students tend to wander off topic and do not stick to the basics of the assignments. As Lisa mentioned in her slidecast, the instructor can and should use his/her blog to model the practice for the students. I could go on and on about modeling (or the lack thereof) in many aspects of instruction, but I will spare you. I will just say that my learning in a course is significantly increased when the instructor models what he/she expects. This is probably more prevelant and critical in my field of study (higher education) than in others, but still a vital part of any course. I am enrolled in this POTCERT class as part of a course in my doctoral program. Our professor (and lead for POTCERT), Claire Major, does an excellent job of modeling here. I enjoy her writing (in this case, blogging) style, and she covers all the aspoects of an assignment in a thorough way while maintaining a concise, interesting and thought provoking dialogue. I want to write like that when I grow up. I've got a long way to go.
I've decided I want to use blogs in yet another way in my course. I plan on starting a separate blog soon to discuss the day to day issues that pop up in retail management while I am still working in retail. Then I can share this blog with students in my course as "lessons" on real life / real world experiences. I feel like blogging about the day to day as the day to day happens will insure that I don't forget the little things, and that I address issues that might otherwise be missed in a typical management course. More of the practical to mix in with the theoretical. I know I could have benefited greatly from that perspective in undergrad. I hope students will use this blog as a reference even after the course is complete. One of my inspirations for this is a blog that I follow on twitter called "Ask a Manager." It's like the "Dear Abby" of management.
And so I press on...thanks for allowing me to jump back in here. I leave you with something that gave me a bit of a giggle last week.