12/04/2004

"Blogging" was it worth it?

Throughout this class we have created numerous bloggs and comments on individual's bloggs, with the incentive to get extra credit. It is a way we can see the views of our fellow class mates. We can go into real world application of the ideas we learn in our economic class. At least that is what we are suppose to think, right? Does it really help to understand economics or is it a easier way to get an A out of the class. I would have to admit I would not even be making this post unless there was an incentive for me. I need a few extra points.

Is it a good thing for Dr. Tufte to have us do these bloggs? I have heard from numerous people that they don't really care what they get on the aplia assignments. If they do bad they will just do one or two more bloggs and that will make up for any points they missed on the assignment. I admit I would never have read so much about oil prices and how they will effect the economy. Or what the merger between Sears and K-mart will do to the retail industry.

15 comments:

pramahaphil said...

I appreciate that the blogs give us opportunities to receive feedback from our peers and not just Dr. Tufte, but I think there are some who think that blogging is the only important part of the class.

Biancca said...

I think its interesting that this class blog is the first of its kind for undergrads, and I did learn things looking up information for my own blogs. I guess any writing practice is also beneficial.

Rufio said...

I feel that blogging is a great educational tool. Never before have I been so proactive in researching the world around me. Before I started this class I could care less about what was happening in the news, but now I check it daily. I also believe that we can learn a lot from reading what other people think about a current issue. To me blogging has been very educational.

I have also found that many people in class feel like blogging is an easy way to redeem oneself from a poor test or homework score. Would anyone have blogged if there were no extra credit points available? I know that I would have only done what was required to get by without failing. Dr. Tufte is an economist and, he understands the idea that people respond to incentives. With extra credit available to the students blogger has been flooded with posts and comments, and I am very glad that it was part of the class.

Janet said...

Blogging allows a person to state what they feel without having to respond instantly to another persons response. We post what we think and then allow others to comment. We then can either comment back or just leave it. It allows us to speak our minds without worrying about saying the wrong thing. We can put our true feelings without fearing criticism. Yes, criticism does happen but we do not have to worry about being shut down right away. We can take our take thinking of how to respond.

I think it has also kept me more up to date with issues. Honestly, if I wasn't blogging on these issues, I wouldn't have known about many of them.

John West said...

I think that Joe may be missing the point of what this class and college in general is all about. It is not about the score one receives on an Aplia assignment or what grade one gets from a particular quiz out of an economics class that is basically open book anyways. We are here to learn how to think my friend. That is what employers are looking for. Most don't care if you come out of college knowing or having a rememberence of all the various technical skills that a you learned. They want thinkers.

Blogging affords an arena for free thinking and as you can see from the recent grade scores in our class, many people can't even make themselves put in some extra time to get a good grade by blogging. Sure you see a rise in the amount of posts and comments this week, by those that initially were too lazy to do so but that is okay because as long as they are thinking and learning this week from researching and participating in the class. By the way Joe are you trying to ruin the opportunity for future classes to blog? It seems that now that this class is winding down and your grade is in place that you are doing just that.

Kova said...

I have learned a lot from blogging but I must admit that it has been the least important thing in our class for me. I have found myself in crunch time during this last block and I am now scrambling to even get my original 100 points. Extra credit is not even on my mind. I think the chance we have to think differently and share our views is great but I also feel that blogging has eliminated the need for students to actually learn the material presented in class. Test scores do not seem to matter, and aplia doesn't seem to matter. We seem to be relying on our blogging points to get us the grade rather than our actual knowledge of Managerial Economics.

Bruce Banner said...

Blogging has opened a new way to express an opinion. It is nice be able to recieve a few extra points if you did bad on an assignment or test and be able to make up for the mistakes you did. The question I have, did you learn from you mistakes and study a little harder or is blogging the easy way to get a desired grade?

Dr. Tufte said...

Here's what's going on in my head.

1) I am still experimenting with how to award points for this, and it is clear that I was too generous this semester. All I can do is change that in the future. The effect of this may have been to trade off a higher letter grade for less understanding of the text.

2) I have frequently gotten student evaluations that complained that grading was based on too few types of assignments (say, multiple-choice tests only). So, I have been consciously trying to increase the number of ways you can show me what you know (tests, Aplia, experiments, and blogging). This is another example, and it seems to make some people very happy with the class.

3) I am very interested in improving student's writing (and my own). But let's face it - writing is a pain in the neck. Further, most class writing assignments are about something you're not very interested in. Blogging goes a good way towards solving that problem.

4) I am a firm believer in letting public embarrassment act as a quality filter. I can state unequivocally that the quality of writing on blog posts by students in this class and others is far beyond what a professor typically sees (when only their eyes see the final product). So this is an easier way for me to deal with something that I really want to do, but which I have a hard time justifying (time-wise).

On the whole, I think this is a good thing to do with classes, once the boundaries are worked out. Can you imagine what other professors around campus would say if they knew how much you wrote this semester (at 13 wrods per line)? The posts alone in October ran to just over 20,000 words.

Jake said...

Blogging is a useful writing tool that will hopefully benefit business students in the future. I agree with Dr. Tufte in that the open discussion of topics and allowing students to form an opinion, though it may be contradictory to the rest of the class, and criticism only helps the writer become better. Hopefully it is never taken personally, but rather as a form of constructive criticism and also see the different views that other students have.

Dr. Tufte said...

One additional thought that I had on this is that I suspect that plagiarism is greatly reduced when: 1) your post doesn't have to be too large, and 2) the post you will like enough to comment on can't be predicted in advance.

Julie said...

At first I wasn't pleased about having to blog. It's seemed like busy work. Like a few people have mentioned, though, it's given me a reason to stay up-to-date with what is going on in the world. I've enjoyed reading other people's views about what's happening and thinking about how I feel. I found that once I set aside time to devote to blogging I got really into it. I think it's been a good thing, and not just for the extra points. In fact, I haven't even thought about the extra points. I blog because I want to.

stevepadilla2 said...

Unbelievable! I thought I had heard the last of comments like these in grade school. Those poor souls with comments like these often were gone by the end of the third week of high school. Most everyone with the gift of rationality has developed the common knowledge that education is a key element in enriching your self worth. This joe character certainly doesn't speak for me when he says some assenine statement regarding aplia. Blogging is a good way to apply what we learn in class, the text, and homework to real life. Active thinking and application that is illustrated on Blogs helps perpetuate the thinking and study of economics. Joe you are out of line to speak on behalf of others. What I have learned from this class and through the interaction of blogging is that Economics is a study of applying math to common sence. It is rather intriguing. I thought about the theory last night. I was making a dinner late last night when I realized I didn't have a key ingredient. I unconsciously weighed the marginal benefits and marginal costs of the situation. Cost was I would have to leave my warm apartment, wife, and game, then proceed to put on warmer cloths, get cash, and go to store. The marginal benefits would be to have a good dinner. I thought to myself I will have a peanut butter and jelly and get what ever ingredient tommorow. Economics is fascinating and blogging is a chance to share what you know. Dr. Tufte is more then gracious by allowing us extra credit for doing what we should already be doing. This is a dang hard class and we all know it. The concepts are hard to attain, the graphs are confusing, and the language is difficult. That is the nature of advanced economics, and for you to make comments about a program that is assiting you is wrong. Try harder.

Calico Cat said...

The problem with letting students blog for grades is that it's TOO MUCH FUN.

A professor I had at Penn, Samuel Klausner let us have a "debate" in one class, and the next class he said it was a bad idea because fun activities trivialized the educational process. Learning should be difficult. (I presume that's why he assigned us to read Talcott Parsons.)

In one of my MBA classes at ASU (in the pre-blog era of 1999), we were required to write three posts to an intranet bulletin board, but I would hardly call the ASU evening MBA program a rigourous academic curriculum.

Dr. Tufte said...

I'm not sure I agree completely with this, but it is a serious problem in making a blog work in a class. How do I ensure that while you're "having fun" writing posts about what you like, and flaming others with your comments that you include enough content from the class. I haven't quite figured that out yet.

Dr. Tufte said...

Forgot to tell you that Michael Kantor (2 comments up) is the blogger behind The Calico Cat, linked on the list at the left.