I don’t like being a conventional professor. Ask any of my students….. either through their excitement or frustration, they will tell you I’m always trying new methods to help them learn marketing concepts, and alternative assignments to assess their level of understanding. (Some students think I’m just trying to drive them crazy.) In my opinion, students are burned out with writing the traditional research paper, focusing on APA formatting and citations. They’re bored with the professional tone required for such documents, and the lack of visual attractiveness when only basic charts and graphs are included.
Can I get an “AMEN!”?
This morning in our departmental mailboxes, my colleagues and I received a copy of an interesting article from our School Director. It was a list of the Top 10 soft skills companies need most in 2019 from the LinkedIn Learning Blog. Guess what was #1……
Blogging? No! It was creativity.
Now I know there are dozens of Top 10 Lists out there on this very same subject, and creativity may not always be #1. However, almost every time, it is at least on the list, and usually very highly ranked. It is an important and valuable trait employers look for in prospective employees during the hiring process…. especially when you’re in the marketing field.
The problem is is that creativity is a “soft skill” which means it’s a trait or talent not possessed by everyone. Some people are just natural creatives. These are the people who have the cool doodles and cartoon characters all over their class notes, can whip up a poem or song in seconds, or make anyone or anything look amazing in a photograph. However, I do think everyone has some level of creativity in them…. we all use our right brain to some extent. It’s just that some of us use more of the right brain than others. (Yes…. there is Left Brain vs. Right Brain theory.) Because creativity is natural, it cannot be taught. Ask any art teacher….. they’ll tell you that you can’t teach someone how to be creative. You can, however, help a student find and develop their creativity. But it takes creativity to bring out creativity.
So what the heck does this have to do with blogging?
Blogging one of the creative teaching tactics I incorporate in my classes to encourage students to use their right brains, to help develop their creativity. With some students, they may be cleaning out dust bunnies and cobwebs in the right side of their brain that they rarely use. In other cases, its providing the right-brain-dependent students an opportunity to apply their creativity to writing instead of other media such as drawing, photography, video, music, dance, drama, sports, and more.
Blogging is not your typical boring research paper…. a stale, black-and-white, APA-formatted-citations-12-point-Times-New-Roman-font-double-spaced-1-inch-margins-title-page-reference-page-appendices document using professional tone.
Blogging can be used by the student to express their understanding and application of concepts. It can also be used by the teacher to assess the students level of understanding. So blogging is as much an effective teaching tool as the research paper. But there’s more….. Blogging is colorful and visually appealing. Blogging is organized in a less standardized, unconventional way. Blogging is conversational and enjoyable to read. Blogging makes it much easier to review sources (especially when they’re online). Blogging is…. well, more fun to write – and read – than the typical research paper.
There are more benefits to using blogging as a teaching tool that I haven’t even covered here. Perhaps I will make another post soon on all the additional pro’s beside being creative. But I thought this was a good start, and I wanted my students to know there is a method to my madness. You may not have many professors at WV Wesleyan College that have you blog for class assignments, but I do hope you see – and reap – the benefits from these assignments.
In the meantime…. tell me your thoughts on having blogging assignments. Does it get you out of your comfort zone and encourage the use of your right brain? How does blogging bring out your creativity??