Ashley Edmonds

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Social Vs. Traditional Learning

There is no argument that growing up in the digital era, solely dependent on the technological interaction with our peers, that we as students struggle with academic writing. A lot of times when assigned research papers it’s like pulling teeth to write. I become extremely stressed about the assignment and usually procrastinate to avoid the anxiety. However, because we DO live in a digital and social world there are endless possibilities to learning and teaching that can spice up a traditional class.

Recently I read the article “Blogs vs. Term papers” by Matt Richtel. In this article Richtel talks about the stress term papers bring students and teachers and also discusses the arguments (pros/cons) of using a social media based classroom.

In the article I find myself asking “WHAT?!?”. William H. Fitzhugh protests against moving away from rigorous academic writing, and believes the solution is not blogs but more reading. Fitzhugh also proposes what he calls the “page a year” solution: in first grade, a one-page paper using one source; by fifth grade, five pages and five sources. –again WHAT!?   Could you imagine being responsible to write a five page paper with sources before even completing middle school. I do agree that our generation has shied away from reading and extensive writing, but this method might just be a little too extreme.  

Personally I really enjoy this style teaching. (Teaching in a more interactive environment) I believe by using tools that students already use, like blogs, can be an enriching way to teach. I agree that blogging is less stressful. I actually think that having classes with blogs are a refreshing change. - 1.) I do not feel the urge to OD on coffee or wake up wishing I could just have an IV of caffeine. 2.) I learn more with constant feedback on my work. 3.) Students have the chance to be the teacher. – I agree that students should have some scene of academic writing but outside of school when is this relevant to most people. I think Professor Davidson had the right idea by using blogs and teaching students cover letters, business letters, and have them write short stories and essays about their chosen careers.


  1. This just so happens to be one of the most practical classes that I've ever taken. For once, there's actually some true-to-life application in the writing projects that we have to accomplish. While other writing classes focus on the emphasis on writing in a public setting, this is seemingly the only class that actually places you in that setting so that you can see first handily what exactly this material is speaking about.

  2. I'm so glad that blogging has lifted some of the stress of writing for you. One thing that I have discovered during my years of teaching writing is that the more anxious/stressed about writing that students are, the worse their writing is. I picked blogs for this course because I want to get you comfortable with writing before you move on to course that require you to write in new ways. If you're confident about your ability to express yourself in an organized and meaningful way, the having to write in these new forms won't be so stressful and intimidating.

  3. Great post. I completely agree that blogging is less stressful than writing traditional term papers. We have the freedom to write whatever comes to mind at this point in the class and when blogging you can easily make the content funny, sad, or any other emotion. There is way less pressure.