November 25, 2005

To moderate or not to moderate, that is the question

Looking closer at moderation of blogging posts today on the ECML blogging system. I really like what Mario has done with the moderation. Small icons lead the teacher to either approve or withhold a student posting, adding small notes for improvements with electronic blogging stickies that the student and teacher can see but which no-one else can. Nice for those students who are perhaps afraid of public correction or criticism. However, it does bring us back to the point that my neighbour at the conference has just reminded me of. What’s best for the student? Private message exchange and error correction between student and teacher – the way we’ve taught for the past n years – or public commenting and peer assessment.

Mario likes the concept of peer assessment in the open on the blog, I think. He mentioned (with a wry smile on his face) the possible opportunities for subversion of older teaching methods with the open blog. But obviously, with such disparate educational cultures represented in this project, he’s been under a lot of pressure to provide a pre-moderation tool. And, as a non-believer in pre-moderation he’s the first person to convince me that it might work in some scenarios with the model he has created.

Best of all is that on his Technical Track blog he’s had students commenting on what they think of pre-moderation. They seem to like it because they’re afraid of making mistakes publicly. But in my mind it’s chicken and egg: why are they afraid of making mistakes in public? Is that not a reflection on the kind of attitudes and fears of failure that we instil in students in our classrooms? Is that perhaps a good set of attitudes for a student to have or is there more potential for success in learning publicly from each other’s errors?

I’m still open for convincing!


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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

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School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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