Steve Greenlaw’s blog Pedablogy: Musings on the Art & Craft of Teaching is a veritable cornucopia of fascinating commentary. Take the post Teaching as Modeling Disciplinary Practice as an example. He talks about how he organized his International Finance class as a research team to study the 2008 financial crisis as it was happening. So far conventional. But he goes further. To quote:
“Early on we decided that our goal would be to produce an analysis of the “Great Recession,” something that would be useful to people outside the class.”
Note here that “we decided that our goal” would be to produce an analysis that would be useful to people outside the class. So this was not really a class in the conventional sense, it was more a seminar where students were peers in the creative process and where the outcome had an audience that was outside academe. How enagaging for the students! How motivating too. And the product, online magazine 2008 Financial Crisis & Global Recession is a site that any professional would be proud of. As well as the careful way that the team chose their research topic what struck me also was the confidence that the professor had in his students that they would write pieces worthy of public reading (which was more than justified). Finally, he states that when they ran out of time at the end of the semester a substantial number of students (half of the class and even seniors who had graduated) volunteered to finish off the project. He rightly concludes “I believe this is evidence of genuine engagement.”
Of interest to me besides the subject matter itself was the template that he used to present the Financial Crisis blog site. This turned out to be Magazine Basic. What a brilliant design! And a quick look at the instructions reveals that there are at least four layout options. I can see this template having the potential to drive the Earlham Word student newspaper site or the radio WECI site.
Also of interest is the URL (http://pedablogy.stevegreenlaw.org). Evidently Steve Greenlaw has registered his own domain which he has linked to the school’s blogging system (WordPress MultiUser). I’m not sure how this was done, but it’s cool nonetheless.