What is it about the number 100 that we find so special?
Most of the world’s currencies are divided into subunits of 100. One hundred is the number of years in a century. Radio stations like to air their top 100 songs at the end of each year. American football fields have 100 yards. The United States of America has 100 senators. And, if we live to be 100 years old, it’s universally viewed as an phenomenal achievement.
So what about 200? To achieve that number in anything must be doubly special.
Last week, I hit 200 blog posts since starting TeachingTeacher in 2010 as a requirement of an instructional delivery course I was taking where I teach St. Lawrence College.
The blog was meant to help me reflect on my own observations as a teacher at St. Lawrence, but it has turned into so much more. When I started my Masters of Adult Education at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia in 2011, I incorporated the blog into my my reflective practice.
It’s been an effective way for me to focus on what I’m learning each week and on my successes and my failures as an educator. It’s also been a wonderful way to connect with the world. I’ve had days when I’ve had more than 100 readers view my blog, some of them from all over the world and from as far away as Thailand, Turkey, Japan, and India.
I’ve even collaborated with other teachers from other countries who have found my blog through keyword Google searches. We’ve shared ideas and helped one another to improve on assignments such as the grammar diary, which has students figure out their own writing challenges.
A few years ago, I created the multi-week blog assignment for my first-year Writing for Marketing students. Many of those who have embraced it have spun blogging into something bigger than a college academic credit.
Three of my first-years have already received tentative offers to write for a commercial publication. One of them said his blog helped earn him a professional writing gig in first year.
Formerly skeptical students have told me that they were hired straight out of school, partly as a result of the product knowledge they displayed in their blogs. Others—just as skeptical—have said their blogging skills have helped attract and impress clients.
Some former students and grads are now blogging professionally amongst the other social media client work they do.
In my eyes, it is the perfect assignment. It encourages continual reflection on students’ studies while receiving ongoing writing feedback from their peers as well as from me—an experienced, professional writer and editor.
The assignment is designed to teach students many of the basics they need to become decent writers:
- critical thinking and using evidence to back up claims
- citing their sources to give credit where credit is due
- the importance of proofreading (they can lose huge marks for sloppiness)
- document formatting (the assignment follows some basic business document rules
The blog assignment is almost over and students and, with its conclusion, students will plunge into their next big assignment: a lengthy social media proposal. They’ll have to use all of the skills they’ve learned in my writing course to be successful at this last assignment. Most of those skills they will have learned from blogging.
I will miss connecting with each student every week and getting to know all of them on a level beyond that of most part-time teachers. Nonetheless, I have no doubt that some of those students may continue to blog.
Indeed, I’d be willing to bet that some of those students will go far beyond the 200 mark.
I’ve been sick over the weekend and today (Monday) and my computer had a small meltdown, so this list of my students top blogs of the week may be incomplete. Note that about half of them are ad reports as I’ve incorporated the Ad Report Card assignment (as promised) into their weekly blog assignment.
Andrew Buist explores the subject of target marketing (because no one else has) in The Adventures of Inspector Target.
Jordan Cameron Ponders whether young people would drink so much alcohol if it wasn’t for advertising in his post Alcohol in Advertising: What a Mix!
Anna McNabb shares in her post Cyber Self how we open our personal details and lives up to social media and wonders if maybe it’s not such a good idea.
After my grad panel, in which she spent time chatting with a successful program graduate, Sara Mcleod wonders if her careers classes in high school were focusing on the wrong lessons. In What we should have been taught in high school, Sarah says she learned that career success has much to do with developing one’s networking.
Ciera Jones shares her realization that time management may be the key to college success. In her post Organize, Prioritize, Utilize, Ciera provides some key steps to effective time management.
Maja Jordahl critiques a Volvo commercial in The Smarter Life in a Volvo. I like that Maja actually used some documented evidence to back up her claim about Volvo’s challenge. Thanks, Maja.
I like Brent Goff’s Walmart ad critique, Walmart: inexpensive but not cheap, for the same reason I like Maja’s: He did his research so that he could find out the challenge that Walmart needed to solve with this commercial. Good work, Brent.
Last but definitely not least, was Kassandra DeGuire’s Ad Report on a Planet Fitness commercial. A fitness trainer herself, DeGuire was able to draw from personal experience to talk about Planet Fitness’s challenge in her report It’s Not a Gym, it’s Planet Fitness.