Having reflected on my own experience, trying to find my way round this course, I decided I needed to go into a course on Introduction to Intercultural Competence (IIC) I have set up this semester and really make things explicit for students. In week one they were introduced to an e-portfolio which has three sections: generic capabilities, IIC, and Basic Spanish (most students are doing a language major in Japanese or Chinese, and some no language at all. Spanish is there as a 'common' language). They were also introduced to a wiki for their personal learning log (PLL), to describe, interpret and evaluate an intercultural issue or incident. Both the e-portfolio and the wiki are only accessed by the student and the lecturers.
Some students tried to engage immediately with the PLL but did not really know how to differentiate between the three sections; not many took up the e-portfolio. In week three (last week) I introduced wikis for group project work/presentations which they are starting now. And I introduced blogs which can be accessed by all, for students to introduce themselves. All these tools are set up for the students on Blackboard, accessible through clearly labelled buttons.
Confusion. Some students are using the blog instead of the wiki, some have not made any entries in the PLL . . . I understand now why some of this has occurred. Even though they have time in the computer room with me once a week, not all attend, and I did not actually insist they make an entry of some sort so that I could help them with content.
When you design something yourself, you are too close to it and don't appreciate the problems that students can have.