I met yesterday with most of our student bloggers — Mirza, Scott, Mark, Diane, Liam, and Roxanne (who wasn’t able to join us, unfortunately). It’s strange that this was our farewell gathering, as it was also the first time that we had been together this year — nearly all of our interactions have been via email. (Some introductions were even needed.) Nonetheless, I’m glad that I’ll still be working with Mark, Diane, and Liam next year, and I’m going to be sad when Scott, Mirza, and Roxanne graduate next month.
We’re nearing the end of the second year of my little blog experiment, which consisted of reaching out to a few students (with no writing “audition” involved) and asking them to write semi-regularly about their Fletcher experience. I hope that blog readers agree that the six of them, plus Maliheh last year, have shined a light on what it’s like to be a Fletcher student.
The idea of having students tell their own stories came to me about two years ago. There’s nothing revolutionary about the idea, and any challenges came from the implementation. In particular, the key flaw in the plan is that students are already doing a lot of writing, and they have limited time. Writing for the blog often slides to the back burner. (And the only compensation is a Fletcher water bottle filled with trail mix.) My job, then, is primarily to provide gentle reminders, while understanding that many other Fletcher commitments need to come first. The gathering itself served as a kind of reminder, and I believe that we’ll have another five or six posts from this group before the summer.
Yesterday’s meeting resulted in a few new ideas. First, there was agreement that two posts per semester per student is a fair goal. I agreed that I should aim to bring in at least one more international student when I recruit first-year bloggers in September. And we decided that on about October 1, I’ll post a survey so that prospective students can ask questions of the student bloggers. Overall, though, we’ll stick with the concept of having students suggest topics that interest them and then figuring out “deadlines” that work, in and around their other assignments. It’s an evolving project, and one that gives me an additional opportunity to work with students, which is one of the best parts of my job.
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