I mentioned in an earlier blogpost that I was experimenting with using a class blog for a graduate class at Drake University on Managing Diversity in the Workplace. I have been very pleased with the quality and quantity of the blog comments made by the students. One thing that I think helped was to allow them to comment on their fears re this new technology in one of my first blogposts.
My blogpost question to them was: As we discussed tonight, we will be using a class blog for MGMT 298 (Managing Diversity in the Workplace) to help us create a learning community and share resources and information on diversity. What questions or concerns do you have about using this technology for this class? What issues or comments do you have about the class itself?
Some of the student comments:
I’m a little nervous with the posting format, finding the questions and submitting comments in the correct location; being the first to add a comment not knowing if you are really the first or just unable to see other comments. I guess I don’t want to stand out or do or say anything stupid. Technology can be intimidating and humbling. As for the class, the challenge for me will be managing the disruption of my comfort zone. I’m willing to let people into my safety box but not so anxious to venture out and look for diverse situations. This will be very difficult for me and I want to gain more than simply checking off an assignment. I would like my intentions to be perceived as honest, sincere and respectful. Jean
I think this is a great supplement to class. It allows class participation for those who are more comfortable writing than speaking, and also provides a medium where thoughts are allowed to materialize before being shared. Once everyone becomes comfortable with the technology, it will certainly add value to this class. Holly
This experiment will certainly show us how diverse we are in the terms of understanding and using technology. I think the concept is great, I just hope I can get a lot more comfortable using it, in the short amount of time we have in this class. Mike C.
I like to feel comfortable. Normally, I will not leave my comfort zone on my own and that is why I’m excited to participate in this class. I will be forced to think outside of the box and hopefully I will be able to carry this type of thinking with me when the class has been completed. Michael N.
I think this will be an interesting and insightful supplement to the class as well. I agree with Holly's statement that this will allow everyone the ability to participate and share ideas, since some people are more reluctant to speak up during class. Hopefully, the sharing of ideas will allow everyone the ability to learn from others and give each one of us another side to consider. I think a huge part of embracing diversity involves keeping an open mind and being receptive to others' ideas, viewpoints and experiences. Hopefully, blogging will serve as a tool to do just that. Allison
Blogging will be a new experience for me. When the first news of blogging was discussed I was a little hesitant about it, then I thought about the older generation who thought that the internet was worthless and they would never need to learn. That opened my eyes to accept blogging for what it is and can be. Diversity is all about accepting something that is different or new, Blogging is definitely new to me. Josh
Well, now it's my turn to try posting a comment. Lets hope I do this correct. One of my previous co-workers had an auto-signature on her e-mails that read, "You must ride the wave of change." I think of that often and utilizing this form of communication certainly falls into that category for me. I am completely unfamiliar with this and unfamiliar things are typically uncomfortable at first. However, the benefits of adapting quickly always pay off. For example, now maybe I will be able to participate knowledgeably in my co-workers discussions on blogging. As we discussed on Monday, blogging is big in the Marketing field right now. I must admit I was/am ignorant about the whole thing. I hope that will change. Carole
Allowing the students to share their concerns and fears with each other created a culture that showed that it was OK to have these concerns, that we were all learning together. The class blog is currently password protected but I will link to it after the summer term is over and share what I think worked well and what I would do differently next time.