As I’ve said before, Middlebury College, while an open-minded kind of place, is not exactly a hotbed of blogging, RSS, podcasting or wikis in the classroom. In fact, with a couple of my Writing Program colleagues, I am considered way out there when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom and, in particular, using social software in my courses. Even so, I make it a priority to draw attention to my students’ very best Web-based work whenever I can, hoping that colleagues across the disciplines might think about considering multi-media essays acceptable alternatives to the traditional essay, or blogs instead of journals or weekly response papers. And once in a while, the undeniable excellence of the online work of my adventurous, fearless, and gifted students garners them praise from unexpected quarters.

This week Piya Kashyap, about whom I have blogged several times over the past few months, just won Middlebury College’s Alison B. Fraker Prize for the most outstanding undergraduate essay written on a topic pertaining to women and/or gender, for her India blog project. When I nominated the project for the award, I was asked for paper copy, which, of course, I could not provide, and so I worried that in the end the judges wouldn’t quite know what to do with her work, no matter how much it exemplified excellent writing and scholarship. Now mind you, the Women and Gender Studies program at Middlebury is the first place I expect to see an embrace of non-traditional forms and perspectives, so I knew she had a chance. However small.

And she did.

She won.

They loved it. (Though I was still asked for paper copy today for their publicity…)

Our blogging students are changing the academic landscape, little by little.



One Response

  1. Congrats to your student and to you. Coming summer holidays, we are looking at students to start their blogs for their industrial attachments and overseas trips. Examples like the one that you have here is what need to get more teachers interested in this medium.

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