Getting the bloggers to write

We've been concerned for some time about the quality of essay writing here at the University of Plymouth. Last week my colleague Mark Townsend and I got together to talk, and we came up with the idea to combine blogs and wikis as an experiment to explore essay writing, and hopefully raise skill levels amongst our students. Here's the plan:

Mark and I are going to create a blogalogue (blog dialogue, get it?) about academic writing, including all the do's and don't's, common errors, and good things that we see in essays. Students will be invited to comment on our dialogue and ask questions, raise issues, or even tell us that we are completely barking. Whilst the dialogue is ongoing, Mark and I will actually create a live document within a wiki space, which students can also comment on, criticise and make recommendations about. On the wiki Mark will be writing in black text and I will be writing in blue and with the roll back facility, everyone will be able to track the progress of the paper as it evolves. (We may even publish it along with our commentary about the experiment). Using these two social tools, we hope to generate enough dialogue across the entire student groups to be useful for everyone who reads it.

If anyone has similar projects they are developing, or would like to try this idea out too, please send a comment to us. The blog, which we have called 'Black and Blue' is already up and running.

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