First week of teaching; course blogs

So my research leave has come to an end, and I'm back at Lehigh teaching this fall. The first week of classes is a doozy, as many other aca-bloggers will attest, and it's difficult to find time and energy to blog.

I am trying out course blogs for my two courses this fall. "Working With Texts" is a required, introduction to the major type course, geared at Lehigh sophomores. (I'm happy to see that a student has already posted something on Tennyson!)

And "The Spirits of Modernity" is a grad seminar on British modernism, which looks at questions of faith and doubt, religion and secularization in British modernism as well as in a little postcolonial literature (mainly The Satanic Verses). Authors include James Joyce (Ulysses), H.D., T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, James Wood, and Rushdie. We might also look at a bit of Karen Armstrong's The Spiral Staircase, a memoir about Armstrong's struggle with belief and doubt in a convent (yes, this is the same Karen Armstrong who has written a number of bestselling books on Islam).

Right now the idea is that I as well as my students will mainly post links to resources on the authors and concepts we're working on. It's experimental, so it will be a relatively small part of the grade of both classes (I'm curious to see if course blogging can result in some 'value-added' to the learning experience). I'm leaving it somewhat open right now to see if other uses for these blogs might emerge; I might become more directive as the term progresses.

Are others experimenting with course blogs? The main example I'm looking at is Chuck Tryon's "Rhetoric and Democracy" course blog, which is for a Freshman composition class focusing on the Presidential elections at Georgia Tech. But it is easier to define the use of a blog for a course about the elections than it is for courses that are primarily on reading literature; it's not like there's a new bit on CNN on Hilda Doolittle everyday.