Teaching and Learning with Blogs

Blogs in Plain English

If you are unfamiliar with blogs, it is recommended to view this video first.

Introduction to course blogs

Victoria Shropshire, MA, explains why she uses blogs in her writing courses. In this video, she dissects a blogging assignment example and offers tips to ease student anxiety about using a course blog.

Hear what students think about using blogs in their Elon courses - The student perspective: Blogs in the classroom 

Course blog Q&A

Victoria Shropshire, MA, addresses many common questions about using a course blog. In this video , she discusses why she prefers a blog over the Moodle forums, assessing student blog posts, using blogs to encourage classroom discussions, time requirements for managing a blog, and the decision of keeping a blog private to only students in the class.

Blogs vs forums

According to research comparing the use of blogs and threaded discussions in an online course, research found “students who blogged about coursework and posted responses to classmates, developed a strong sense of community amongst each other. Because the form of blog writing tends to be less “academic” and more personal, students linked their meaning of academic material to their own lives and experiences. This resulted in more candid and personal discourse amongst the class.”

Read Blogging vs Threaded Discussions in Online Courses

Blogging assignments examples

Class Blogs – Options and Three Strategies

A better blogging assignment (ProfHacker)

There are several ways to incorporate blogs into your course. Two popular options are a single class blog where all students contribute or students could create their own individual or group blog. Read this article from ProfHacker for more blog strategies from higher education faculty.

Elon faculty talk about how they use blogs - Blogs at Elon: A tool for all types of learning

Rubrics for assessing blogs

Examples of rubrics for evaluating student blogs and blog posts.

5 Tips for Blogging

1.Have a clear pedagogical purpose for incorporating blogs into the instruction, and clearly state the purpose and requirements of student blogging on the class syllabus. "Students need to see a purpose for the blog, and they need guidelines for entries and comments," explained Stuart Glogoff, senior consultant in the Office of Instruction and Assessment at the University of Arizona. "In the cases where faculty have incorporated blogs without establishing their purpose, student participation has been uniformly low."

2.Blog contributions and comments should be a graded element of the course. "Your grade is your currency for your course," explained Ruth Reynard, associate professor of education and the director of the Center for Instructional Technology at Trevecca Nazarene University (TN). "If you don't assign a score to blogging, students aren't going to take it seriously or treat it as a priority because they're too busy doing the work that they're earning scores for."

3.Don't assume that students are familiar with the practical aspects of blogging. Exercises on uploading images and videos, embedding text links, and writing constructive comments on peer blogs should be required before content-specific blog entries are due.

4.Model best practices by contributing to your own blog and commenting on students' blogs."There's no shortcut to this," advised Reynard. "If you don't comment, then students feel as if they're talking to the air. Commenting gives you the opportunity to connect directly with each student, and makes students feel as though they're getting direct tutoring, which is actually the best way to teach."

5.Simplify navigation between student blogs by having students subscribe to each other's blogs via RSS feeds, dividing students into small groups to comment on each other's work, or building a mother blog--a front page for the course that aggregates recent blog posts, comments, updates from course-related websites, and social-networking feeds. "I like the mother blog because it's a great lesson in how to make the web work for you," explained Gardner Campbell, director of professional development and innovative initiatives in the Division of Learning Technologies at Virginia Tech. "Understanding how to create a site where chosen content is aggregated onto a single page is a best practice, not just for the classroom but for living on the web in general."

Source: Strategies for Blog-Powered Instructionfrom Campus Technology


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