Course Blogs: Commenting Privately on a Student’s Post

Rebecca Burnett and I had a conversation about the nature of commenting on student blog posts. As instructors, should we have the option of making a private comment – viewable only to the student author, or should all comments be viewable to all students? There is an argument to be made for complete transparency in a course blog. I believe there are situations, however, where dialogue between an instructor and a student might benefit from a degree of privacy. The example that comes immediately to mind relates to marking a post. In the past, I have returned what I believe to be confidential communication regarding assignment feedback and grading to students through an external medium (email, rubrics uploaded to T-Square’s dropbox, emma, etc.). And yet I have thought it would be preferable for students to be able to read my feedback inline with their posts. I just wasn’t sure how to accomplish such a thing without making this confidential feedback publicly available. (more…)