Comments exercise = social + critical
I enjoy Idea Channel, an online PBS series which examines connections between pop culture, technology and art. Last week, writer-host Mike Rugnetta decided to visit a class that regularly sends the show insightful comments.
The video may be about a high school math class, but this kind of activity is well suited to a college course. Very likely there are blogs or other websites in your subject area that accept comments. Why not ask students to read an article and then work in small groups to write comments? Start by explaining that you’re not looking for “what a stupid idea” or “that was an awesome article.” Instead, students need to think critically: look for unstated assumptions, evaluate arguments, and identify relationships between what’s in the article and what they are studying. Socially oriented college students will be no less excited than high school kids when the article’s author acknowledges their comment online (although they might be less demonstrative).