A recent Google announcement got me thinking. Yes, I know that can be dangerous, but I do that from time to time. I haven’t looked at the details, but Google is going to give people in the news the ability to add comments to news stories that they are in. It could get ugly, but at least we will start to get both sides of the story, since we know that many news articles are biased.
But what if we could add this function to the Learning Management System (Moodle, Blackboard, etc)? Allow students to comment on individual assignments, content pages, even tests? Would it be scary or informative? Helpful, or harmful?
Of course, certain issues would need to be taken into consideration. Blindly allowing comments on tests would increase cheating. So, you would maybe make it so that students can’t see comments made on the test until after they have taken it, or until after the test is closed.
But think of the benefits. Students could add insight or links to class content. Student suggestions could help you find better ways to teach. Or correct mistakes anywhere in the course.
One question I would ponder – should comments stick from one semester/year until the next, or should they be cleared out with each new class? Could leaving them there lead to privacy issues? Could clearing them out diminish the effectiveness (future students couldn’t learn from current student input)? Maybe there just needs to be a whole list of settings.
There could even be a dual layer comment system – one between students and instructors, and one between instructors and administrators (revisers, instructional desigers, and TAs for example). When a change is needed, the instructor makes a comment and goes on. Then, when the class is being revised for a new semester, the person doing the revisions can just look at the notes on each page (that students can’t see), and makes the changes. Man – that would make my job soooo much easier….