As part of their coursework, students at our college are required to keep a PDP [Personal Development Plan] - a studio diary in which they chart their progression through the course by way of discussing works in progress, referencing other works which influence them and - as part of the critical studies element of the course - writing a couple of reviews.
In the past, this PDP has always had to be presented in physical form which, as you can imagine, gives rise to numerous opportunities for the perennial student excuses such as “The dog ate my PDP….”, “Our house got robbed at the weekend and they took the DVD player, the computer and my PDP…”, “I left my PDP on the bus…” and the like – quite apart from the logistics involved in collecting and assessing well over a hundred such volumes.
So this year I suggested we drag ourselves kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century and allow the students to keep their PDPs in digital format.
Gary and Joanne, the course-leaders okayed the idea and so I’ve spent the last week or two corralling small groups of students together and supervising their setting up blogs on Blogger, in which they can begin the first wave of digitally compiled PDPs. Why blogger? - well, in spite of my instinctive mistrust of companies which seem determined to take over the entire known universe [which is why i’ll not have any Microsoft software at all on my comp], I’ve always thought Google slightly less tainted by association with Beelzebubb and all his legions than a lot of other megacorporations. Add to this the fact that Google own Blogger, Picasa and YouTube and this makes it piss easy for the students to incorporate photos, slideshows and video into their PDPs with only one login/password combo to remember.
From a staff point of view, subscribing to an RSS feed from every student’s blog via Google Reader allows us to see at a glance who is or isnae updating their PDPs regularly and
kick the arse of have a friendly discussion with any student who’s falling behind with this part of their coursework.