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A sort of silly question

This question of this post arose from looking at two other recent posts: a bird's post on how long we're planning to leave our final projects up online; and zoey's on what the blog would look like if it was less structured. Just kind of a free-for-all. Length of posts, amount of posts, content of posts, all completely open.

While the matter of leaving our projects up or taking them down is a matter of our own choosing, KF has told us that both the blog and wiki will continue to remain up and running after the semester's close. I suppose that will be something of an opportunity to see what would have happened had this blogging assignment been a more or less optional "free-for-all." Being a student, and being well-acquainted with standard levels of student motivation (or lack thereof) and free time (severe lack thereof), I feel a bit preposterous asking this question, but: can any of you envision yourselves continuing to post to the blog or the wiki, even just occasionally, after 5 o'clock today? As for me, I find it difficult to imagine my own answer being yes, but on the other hand, after having spent so much time with the blog and the wiki this semester, it's pretty hard to imagine not coming back to check for updates, leave a comment, etc.

I'll probably come back

I'll probably come back after a while, but for right now, I'm blogged out. It will last a good....2 days or so, I bet. Haha.

I'd be up for a blogging

I'd be up for a blogging free-for-all. I'll be interested to see what happens when we're no longer getting class credit for these posts. :-)

sigh. At this point in the

sigh. At this point in the semester, when I'm getting extremely discouraged/frustrated because I know quality and content is suffering for the sake of quantity, I'm actually thinking that I'd love to see what the free-for-all would look like. With the pressure of grades and deadlines taken off, we might be able to expect even more consistently thoughtful and thought provoking posts from this blog than usual.

Actually, I've wondered

Actually, I've wondered about this, too. I hate hate hate that I've had to make the blogging requirement about quantity, because the mere posting-for-posting's sake aspect of this end-of-semester flood was not at all what I was after. On the other hand, you guys have built enough of a connection, and enough of you are posting like mad, that it's actually turning into a really furious conversation, of the kind that I really want. So what I want to know -- and I may move this question to an actual post, so that I can hopefully get more members of the class involved in the answer -- is whether Pomona students would stand for a totally non-quantified requirement. If I said: x percent of your grade will be derived from the QUALITY of your participation on the blog. Some aspect of QUALITY has to do with quantity, sure, but it also has to do with consistency, engagement, generosity, etc. If I refused to name a number of posts that would constitute a minimum. What would happen? Would anybody blog at all? Would I face total revolution? (There are worse things than total revolution in the classroom, don't get me wrong. But some kinds of revolution are more productive than others.)

[Incidentally, I'm stuck in the Houston airport, so it's nice to have all this to read. Once it's after 5 there, I'll add some thoughts myself.]

If you do change it to

If you do change it to quality, you'll have to deal with students arguing their grade (Paul Mann has a great deal to say on this topic). You could have quality decided socially, as well as by you, which my be interesting, in order to make sure gradings coincide.

Perhaps if you provided feedback after the first week or so as to what grade you would give said blog posts?

Social Grading

It's hard to have quality decided socially. Students are under more constraints in judging other students because there's plenty to gain or lose socially by being generous or judgmental.

definitely, but in some ways

definitely, but in some ways it would regulate quality as well. certainly, you could some students be vindictive if graded down, but if you threw out the outliers you could certainly have some interesting results.

Consider the following situation: a bunch of students are posting at a certain quality (whatever that means). They will grade each other at a satisfactory level - they hopefully will not want to detriment their grade. There are a couple of students working at a higher level, and a couple at a lower level.

The students at the middle level will probably grade the students above them at satisfactory or above average level (assuming they're not trying to screw the system). They will grade the students below them as below average or possibly satisfactory in order to rank their own work as satisfactory.

The students below the average may rate those above them highly, or may rate them lowly in order to try and confuse the rating system. Who knows what they will rate each other, but it probably won't be above average.

The students above average may rate those below them as below average, or they may rate them as equals.

Based on these relationships, one could use a neural network to categorize a student's posts based on the feedback of others. While this could be circumvented by a class-wide concerted effort to make the neural network ineffective, that would defeat the point of having social grades to mitigate the potential bias of a professors grades. The neural network /should/ work because those involved have a vested interest in making it work.

The only problem I can see with such a system is that the pool of samples might not be large enough to deal with abnormalities, e.g. half the class 'getting' a post and half the class not.

If one is to compare this proposal to other systems of social rating, such as Slashdot comments, other rating systems can work quite successfully.