Wednesday, February 16, 2005

La Positive Attitude

I am so pleased that I started blogging with my 2nd year medical students. They only created their blogs two weeks ago and yet some of them have really surprised me with the interesting things they've written. Med students don't have an enormous amount of free time (or so they'd have me believe:-) but almost all of them seem to have been willing to put the time necessary into creating something meaningful. I've been fairly directive in what I've asked them to post but also tried to leave some leeway for personal input. Their first posts were pre-prepared as a homework assignment: about 150 words on a typical day in their lives. This meant that they got straight down to business on day one and there was no time wasted scratching heads and wondering what to write. Some time was then spent reading other students posts and leaving comments. For the rest of the class, I invited them to look at my blog and my answers to the Proust questionnaire in particular. They copied the questions and provided personal answers. Over the week, I asked them to make at least one more post to their blogs, either on a subject they're interested in, or on medical studies in France, adding a photo if they liked, whatever. I posted comments on most of the students' blogs over that week too and started sending e-mails with suggestions for corrections (grammar, vocabulary, spelling etc.). At the following class I ironed out a few technical problems and they spent some more time reading each other. Homework for the second week was to look at some other medical blogs from and to post their reactions. I also asked them to post a few of their own Proust-style questions and to answer each others'. Unfortunately this ahs been a disastrous week for internet connections all over our campus. (There's some problem with a faulty router somewhere but they're not sure where, or something like that) so a majority of students weren't actually able to maintain a connection for long enough to complete a post. They promised they'd catch up next week. Their current assignement is to post the introduction to a presentation they'll be giving at our next class on 2nd March.
All in all it has been an extremely positive experience for me, the teacher, because I feel I have established better contact with this class than with some others and I think it has been a positive experience for them too, but I'll have to ask them about that (mmmmm I can feel another blogging assignement coming on).
Oh, yes and one of the other positive things has been receiving feedback in the form of comments from people they don't even know (thank you Bee). If you'd like to have a look there's a list at the blog the title of this post links to, and here are a couple of the posts I've enjoyed most (so far): florence974: "Medical Blogs", Funnygirl...: "Discover new and hot medical blogs...", vovoss'life: "ProustQuestion", a typical day in my life: "a student's fears", bloune: "typical day in my life"


Marco Polo said...

Very interesting stuff, thanks. Can you tell me (French Lit major but never read Proust) what are "Proust questions" and where they come from?

Elizabeth H-S said...


Very interesting to read how you are handling the blog.

(I'd suggest double spacing for paragraphs--he-he).

I'd like you to log some samples of the kinds of questions you set for your students (maybe this is the same question as marco polo puts to you?). I suspect that highly directive entries are good for first-time bloggers. Isn't that your impression also?

Thanks for you work on this.

--Elizabeth Hanson-Smith