Developing a Commenting Guide for Students on Day 29

The challenge for today was to develop an age-appropriate student commenting guide. Since I deal with college and graduate students, trying to get things down to the level of an elementary school student wouldn’t enter the picture, unless I put on my parenting hat (I have one that will be in third grade in the fall another who will be in first grade.)

I decided that I would start with my Six C’s on Being a Great Blog Commenter from Day 23 of the challenge and combine this with the current Discussion Board Guide that I have, written into the syllabus, for my online graduate. I also included the Grading Rubric I have adapted from one of the Online courses that I took. This could easily be adapted to grading blog comments.

Six C’s on Being a Great Blog Commenter

  • Centered – Stay focused.
  • Contribute – Share some information or something useful.
  • Courteous– Be Polite.
  • Credit – Give credit where credit is due. (Cite your sources.)
  • Camaraderie – Commenting is a way of building relationships with other bloggers.
  • Constant – Remember comments are permanent.

Discussion Board & Grading Rubric

Discussion Board
With an online course, the discussion board is where most of the interaction occurs among the students in the class; this is where you will get to know your fellow classmates often more intimately than in a face to face setting. Plan on logging into the Discussion board to read, post & respond to new postings several times a week.

We have a fairly small number of people in the course, so you should be able to interacting with each of your other classmates. When posting your response for the week you may want to post your own answers first before responding to your classmate’s posts.

Each week that there are discussions be sure to respond to at least one of the posts for each of your classmates, who have posted timely posts.

Discussion Board Posting & Netiquette
Since we all are likely to have different backgrounds and experiences in regards to bereavement, grief, loss and hospice, each of us is likely to be looking at different resources and areas that the others may not be exploring. We had different paths in getting here and so each of us may have different areas of expertise or uniqueness that can be contributed and shared with the class as a whole.

You may want to share interesting or inspiring resources from books, articles, video or other sources may be useful to help in learning material for this class or used with clients in a professional setting.

The Student Help Section for Blackboard has a good review with guidelines for Netiquette.

When responding to classmates’ posts, in particular, be courteous and focus on offering constructive advice instead of criticisms.

Discussion Board Grading
You will be keeping track of your discussion board posts and self-grading your own postings based on the rubric listed below along with the discussion board grading form. As you are posting your results be sure that you take time to reflect, and include thoughtful analysis of materials, insights about the materials read and/or presented as well as providing constructive responses (teaching) to each other.

Discussion Board Grading Rubric


Full credit


Quality of postings

Postings reflect the course readings (citing the source) and/or critical thinking.
Real world application processing is clearly evident.

Postings are not relevant to the question posed or tend to just be “me too”, “I agree” messages.

Quantity of postings

Responds to at least two other participants.

Responds to the question posted and one of the following:

1. neglects to respond to any postings OR

2. dominates the thread with excessive postings

Timeliness of posts

Responses occur early enough in the week to allow others to provide feedback.

Responses contribute to the information exchange of the learning community.

Posts meet the other criteria but are posted at the end of the week when class discussions have moved on to other topics.

Source: Van Duzer J. 2006. Discussion Rubrics, Introduction to Moodle Course.

Communicating the Commenting Guide

I like the idea of making the commenting guide a collaborative process and using a wiki. I think giving the graduate students the Guidelines on being a Great Blog Commenter with the Guidelines on Posting in a Discussion Board would be a good way to start.

If I needed to have something developed for myself, I would include the commenting guide as part of the course syllabus.

While I like the idea of using VoiceThread I am not sure if I would use a audio / video for my college students. I could see VoiceThread being helpful if one were trying to instruct younger students.

Continue reading

Researching Personal Branding on Day 27

I wasn’t exactly sure what constituted a “Personal Brand” so I started today’s activity by trying to figure it out. I found Michele’s Martin’s post on Building Your Online Brand: Start with the Message. She looked at two aspects, a personal brand and the elements of your personal brand:

What Is a “Personal Brand”?

Your personal brand is the perception that people have of you, as compared to other people in similar positions.

The Elements of Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is the sum total of information about you that people will use to form an impression of your value. Your appearance, your personal characteristics, your work experience and education, your strengths, your passions, your work values and your accomplishments are all factors in developing your brand.

For Michele, the goal of personal branding is to create a consistent, positive message about who you are and what you stand for that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Determining my Online Identity Score

After getting a definition of a Personal Brand, from there I went on to determine my Online Identity Score following another one of Michele’s posts on What’s Your Online Identity Score and What Does it Say About You? She recommended running a little experiment:

  • Type your name (with quotes) into Google.
  • Look at the first three pages of results–how many of these references are about you?
  • How many of those results would convey the right message to a future employer or client?

I discovered 19600 documents using my name as Kirsti A. Dyer (my preferred branding). All 30 of the results on the first three pages were actually about me. The results were the same if I ran the search in Kirsti Dyer.

The results show my diverse interests from Journey of Hearts website, to teaching, to work with Grief, Loss & Bereavement, involvement with NICU Parent Support and the various websites where I have published articles.

One of the interesting discoveries was a post on WinterQuake Blog, Thoughts in a Bottle on the Ocean from last week that featured one of my old poems, Darkness from circa 1996. It helped me realize that the information that we continue to make available on Journey of Hearts, which has been online now for over 10 years, is still very helpful for those going through loss.

Career Distinction’s Online Identity Score

As part of the What’s Your Online Identity Score and What Does it Say About You? Michele recommended using the handy tool from Career Distinction to calculate your “online identity score.”

While I didn’t get a number the way that Michele’s example showed I did get the following response:

Congratulations. You are digitally distinct.

This is the nirvana of online identity. Keep up the good work, and remember that your Google results can change as fast as the weather in New England. So, regularly monitor your online identity.

I wonder if that means I got a 10 out of 10?

Thoughts on Personal Blog Brand

I filed these under the Reflections & Revelations for Day 27.

Continue reading

Exploring Other Ways to Comment for Day 26

Since the challenge for today was to think about using multimedia and other ways to comment on blogs I decided to review and explore some ways of using multimedia in this blog and for blog commenting.

My Voki

The first multimedia application that came to mind for today’s activity was the use of the Voki.

The Voki is a fun way of creating a talking voice character or a computer-generated avatar, but it wouldn’t be easily available for posting comments in a blog.

Sharing a Health, Nutrition & Wellness Lecture

The next multimedia option was using .docstoc. I’ve already included one lecture of my on the Ethical Challenges of the Medical and Healthcare Internet in a prior post on Discovering Medical Ethical Challenges Lecture on .docstoc.

I uploaded a new lecture to my .docstoc one that I recently gave on Health, Nutrition and Wellness, on How to Live a HEALTHY LIFE.

.docstoc is a great way of sharing professional documents, such as PowerPoint presentations. It would be more than one might need to respond to a typical blog post, but might be included as a linked reference.

A Look at Other Multimedia Options

I’d already briefly looked at several multimedia options for getting PowerPoint Lectures online.

  • .docstoc – .docstoc is a user generated community where you can find and share professional documents. Upload your documents for all the world to share.
  • Slideshare – SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. It is the best way to get your slides out there on the web, so your ideas can be found and shared by a wide audience.
  • Slides on Line – a digital library made for physicians worldwide to access slide presentation on most updated research and clinical disorders.

Two new Multimedia options discovered as part of Day 24’s post include:

  • VoiceThread – A VoiceThread is an online media album that can hold essentially any type of media (images, documents and videos) and allows people to make comments in 5 different ways – using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (with a webcam) – and share them with anyone they wish. They can even be exported to an Archival Movie for offline use on a DVD or video-enabled MP3 player. A VoiceThread allows group conversations to be collected and shared in one place, from anywhere in the world.
  • Scrapblog – Scrapblog enables everyday people to express themselves online in a creative way. This service allows for combining photos, videos, audio and text to create multimedia scrapbooks.

Another Multimedia option that I’ve seen used quite a bit.

  • One True Media – One True Media an easy-to-use online service that makes consumers both producer and director of their own video creations. We offer an innovative and painless way to transform video and photos into polished video montages that can be shared with friends and family.

A Look at Other Ways to Comment in a Blog

I took a look at the suggested resources for discovering different ways to comment in a blog.

  • Seesmic– allows you to create video comments that can be uploaded to blogs using WordPress. According to their wiki you can also
  • Record one or more Seesmic video’s to a post.
  • Accept authenticated or anonymous video comments.
  • Moderate video comments exactly like text comments.
  • Snapvine – Using the snapvine Voice Player, users are able to safely communicate, in their own voices, with their online community with snapvine’s easy-to-use products that work on any cell phone, with any carrier.

Thoughts on Multimedia Commenting

I filed these under the Reflections & Revelations for Day 26
Continue reading

Commenting in a Foreign Country Day 24

Computer screen with language choiceIt took me a bit of reflecting to figure out why this challenge–posting a message in a foreign language–was more challenging for me than most and why I ended up modifying the challenge.

Many of the people in my family of origin speak Finnish as a first language (my mother, aunt, uncles and many cousins), so when I was learning foreign languages in school, I always wanted to make sure that when I spoke or wrote the language, it was perfect.

Even with using Google Translator, which would assist in reading a foreign language blog post as well as translating comments into the proper language, I still felt extremely uncomfortable about posting in a foreign language. When I played with the Google Translator and ended up with responses written in languages using different characters, I was even less sure about posting the characters.

I then decided that if I am going to be commenting on a blog post (which I haven’t be doing a lot of), it would be better to post on a blog from someone in the challenge, so I morphed the activity to being one where I would post a comment on a blog from one of the 31 Day Challenge Participants that was being written in a foreign country.

Chosen Blogs & Comments

The simple sentence that I decide to have translated was: “Greetings from the 31 Day Comment Challenge.”

  • In Japanese 日からのご挨拶コメントの挑戦です。
  • In Azerbaijani wasn’t an option. Had to go with Russian, Поздравления с Днем 31 Комментировать обстоятельства.
  • In Vietnamese. (I used to translate the Vietnamese into English) Những lời chào từ 31 Thách thức Bình luận Ngày
  • In New Zealand. (I picked Maori from the page “Hello in Many Languages“) Tena koe from the 31 Day Challenge.

After seeing the translations in foreign alphabets, I decided to keep the translations just for this post, since I didn’t know if posting text in a foreign alphabet would just end up a garbled HTML mess. So I posted a simple “Hi” in the language of the blog and the fact that I was posting from the 31 Day Challenge.

Continue reading

Thoughts on Being a Great Blog Commenter for Day 23

Hand on a KeyboardThe activity for the Challenge today was to figure out how to be a fabulous blog commenter and take that one step further.

The next part of the challenge was to determine what tips would you give someone if you were teaching them to be a great blog commenter.

I had some ideas of my own, but decided to went in search of other thoughts from other bloggers before synthesizing my own.

Gina Trapani offered these guidelines about posting weblog comments:

Stay on topic.
Contribute new information to the discussion.
Don’t comment for the sake of commenting.
Know when to comment and when to e-mail.
Remember that nobody likes a know-it-all.
Make the tone of your message clear.
Own your comment.
Be succinct.
Cite your sources with links or inline quoting.
Be courteous.
Don’t post when you’re angry, upset, drunk or emotional.
Do not feed or tease the trolls.

Good Comment had the following list of questions that one should ask oneself prior to posting a blog comment.

Is my comment on topic?
Is my comment as short and concise as possible?
Is my comment friendly and polite in tone and language?
Does my comment add something useful to the conversation?
Would I want somebody to leave this comment on my blog?
Does your comment pass the test?

According to Good Comment, if you can answer positively to each of the above questions, then the chances it’s a good comment.

Blog Comments are Permanent and for Building Relationships

A recent post on DoshDosh by Maki reminds us that we should view every blog comment as a permanent, long-term representation of yourself and your brand. We should also be seeing blog comments as a way of networking with the blog author.

Think long-term: not just incoming traffic today but exposure down the road. Don’t just focus on getting an immediate return (visitors via your link drop) but use comments to develop relationships of ongoing value.

Maki stresses to “Think long-term, think relationships and think about getting repeat benefits” and that Commenting is an extraordinary easy way to not only get visitors to your site, but develop mutually beneficial relationships along the way.

My Six “C’s” on Being a Great Blog Commenter

The key tips I would pass on to someone about being a great blog commenter are:

  • Centered – Stay focused.
  • Contribute – Share some information or something useful.
  • Courteous– Be Polite.
  • Credit – Give credit where credit is due. (Cite your sources.)
  • Camaraderie – Commenting is a way of building relationships with other bloggers.
  • Constant – Remember comments are permanent.

The last one, My Golden Rule of Internet Blog Posting, comes from my thoughts on an earlier blog posting, Debating / Day 5 Comment on a Blog Post You Don’t Agree With, where Bill Scott responded in the 10 Rules for Blog Debates with

Remember that once your post is submitted it will be read by many and possibly used against you later. Always examine your motives before you post.

Continue reading