At the beginning of the week, I decided to revise my syllabus, which I will share with your here on my ENG100 class's blog.
The blog will be made private, once the course begins and my students accept their blog invites. I think making the blog private is the ethical decision, although, I might ask the students themselves how comfortable they are with their writing going public. Knowing that the public might read their work could put some positive pressure on them, or it could make them less confident and self-conscious. I would rather avoid the latter.
I wanted to share this blog format with you because I think it's a great tool for teachers and students. EVERYTHING is online, so there is an inherent "no excuses" policy, meaning students can't lose the syllabus, assignments sheets, contact info, announcements, due-dates, and so on. Everything is organized--which helps both the instructor and the students. The teacher can access papers and give feedback quickly. Students can search for assignments, and see what they missed in class. It also acts as a great resource for future classes (no more where did I put that Rhetorical Analysis handout?).
My initial intentions for the blog were to create a space where students could post their Reading Responses and comment on each others' work. The post-and-comment format of the blog is great for this, but it is also great for creating an interactive community within the classroom.
Borrowing & feedback welcome!