Charles Downey has been soliciting ideas for his course on 20th century opera. In his summary article he lets slip that the students will be involved in a blogging project. This struck me, as I have also created a class blog for one of my courses, a First Year Seminar on critical reading and writing about music. Will blogs become a regular part of the college curriculum? In my case I'm using the blog to encourage regularly-practiced experimental writing and thoughtful criticism. I've tried online discussions before, using my campus' Blackboard service, but the students did not take it very seriously. I hope that the public nature of the blog will get the students more invested in the project, which certainly seems to be the case in the debate over the name of the blog. I made a list of the music blogs I currently link to, as ideas to stir the creative process. They made the jump to the crematorium idea from an inside joke involving their peer mentor. (All First Year Seminars at DePauw are assigned an upperclass student as a mentor, a very good way to help new students with the tribulations of college life.) They have also been having fun creating pseudonyms for the blog, though everyone in the class will know who belongs to each tag.
It will be interesting to see if class blogging takes off as an academic tool, or if it is just a fad. I'll let you know how I feel after the semester is over.