In the article, it says, "the project fell apart before it was named."
Why is there -ed at the end of name? How can this be?
Anyway, as I was finishing commenting on the last entry, I ended with a question I ended many journal entries with: "Does that make sense?" Only one time in the whole semester did a single student respond with "yes, thank you" or some acknowledgement of receipt. It's possible they are busy (it's summer), and since I don't require it, students don't pipe in with more questions or followup. Or maybe my responses are just so magnificently clear that students have no further questions :). Whatever the cause may be, I have found it nearly impossible to create a kind of vibrant mini-community in a class where everyone is reading each other's posts and commenting or making followup questions or rating them. I'm sure I could force it and require them to participate like this, but I really wish it would just happen.
Back when I was teaching English 101, I was taking a course with former faculty member Dr. Maryann Crawford, and in a class discussion about what makes a discourse community, I remember her making a claim that it would be very difficult to make a class a discourse community since a class doesn't all the characteristics of one.
That week, I made an assignment to test this claim (I like a challenge). I had two freshmen English classes, and I had them use a class wiki to create a class paper by writing the different parts in groups during class. I then graded the class paper promptly with feedback about what it would need to be passing. I also communicated how each class was doing to the other class (One class had a D- and the other had an E). My vision was that each class would be inspired with some friendly competition and try to "one up" the other class, and it would all lead to this awesome communal knowledge of what it takes to make a good rhetorical analysis. After two days, a couple changes were made by one or two students, and both classes bumped their grade up to a D. I was excited. My plan was working!
Then it just sort of fizzled out and no one did anything more. Obviously, I was not pleased with this.
I tried to encourage more participation, but a couple honest students commented that if it wasn't required, they just wouldn't do it; they were busy with their other coursework and just didn't have the time.
At the time, I remember reading an article about Old Spice's attempts to manufacture viral videos with its Old Spice Guy commercials. The initial one has been viewed, at the time of this blog entry, almost fifty million times. Interestingly, people at the time claimed that the amazing success of the ad campaign did not lead to increased sales. I remember reading those articles and thinking, "I'm just like Old Spice. I can't just manufacture a natural phenomenon and bend it to another purpose."
But then just now as I was looking for an article to link to stating that the campaign was a bust, I read that Old Spice critics even in Time Magazine had to eat their words since body wash sales actually increased 7%.
Maybe it can be done, but I need to require more things or give a few more incentives to get it rolling like extra credit or something like that.
Then again, maybe I just need to have Isaiah Mustafa sub for me.