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….
Matt is currently an Instructional Designer II at Orbis Education and a Part-Time Instructor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Previously he worked as a Learning Innovation Researcher with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His work focuses on learning theory, Heutagogy, and learner agency. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.