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Nekeya Billingslea: 2007 TLC Technology Grant Report


Excerpt:

Instructor's Journal for the OtisStar Blog

Before:

The first thing I did for this project was familiarize myself with Blogger. Although I had visited blog sites and considered myself relatively knowledgeable of the technology, I felt I needed a little more information to actually create one. So, at the suggestion of Kathlen Forrest, I signed up for the Lynda.com tutorial. It was great. What it helped me do was plan and organize the blog site while trouble-shooting at the same time. Also, I continued to visit blog sites to get ideas for what I could possibly do. I especially decided to focus on sites created by artists and sites for artists.

I already had an idea of the kinds of prompts and discussions I wanted us to have. One early morning, at 3 a.m., I woke up and all of the questions I wanted to ask the class came to me. Actually, that was the most stressful part of this project. In my opionion, it doesn't matter how fancy or visually attractive a site is; if it doesn't have meaningful content, especially for a class, then it still doesn't mean much.

Week 1:

Creating the site was a virtual breeze (pun intended.) Everything is up and running. I put images up and it is looking quite neat. After I posted the first prompt, their responses trickled and surprised me pleasantly. This thing began to take on a life of its own. In the layout of the site, I didn't have a prompt section. The prompt was embedded in my initial post. So, after a few responese, the prompt was lost. What happened is that students began posting responses to each other's posts. The prompt was entirely lost. For a few seconds I was irritiated --- I think more at myself that at the students or the unexpected turn of events. Why didn't I foresee that? Then I began to really appreciate the life that the discussion took on of its own accord. It reminded me that I am only a faciliatator and catalyst of sorts. I was pleased to discover that my role is secondary and that this site is all about the students' discussion and exploration of ideas.

--Nekeya Billingslea
Liberal Arts and Sciences

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