Faculty can design learning environments that support different student learning styles by providing multiple opportunities for learning. Using blogging to supplement your course gives students an opportunity to communicate, collaborate, and reflect on their learning.
The use of blogs or weblogs provides students with a way to easily share their experiences and insights with other students as well as the wider audience of the Internet. A blog can be a personal journal, a collaborative work space or an expression of ideas that one wants to share with others.
In this module you will learn how to create your own blog and explore how they are used in education. You do not need expensive equipment or training to complete this module but should be comfortable in using technology.
Developing a blog for your course involves some planning and an understanding of how blogs can support student learning. Some instructors use blogs to replace their course web sites. They can use it to post messages, resource materials, reading assignments and activities, for example. Review the information below to help you get started.
What are Blogs?
A blog is described as an online application used to share personal expressions, in some ways like a diary. It is similar to having a web page but much easier to create and more personal. Blogs can also be used to link to resources and communicate with others through various features of the application. You will have an opportunity to explore some examples of blogs in this module that will help you to better understand their capabilities.
Why Use Blogs?
Blogs help students to make connections with one other and the instructor as well as provide them with alternate media to express their learning experiences. Blogs also provide the students with opportunities to write and reflect on their learning.
How Do I Use Blogs?
Follow the link below or click on the link to EXPLORING above to view some examples and to learn how to create a blog for your Blackboard course.
To learn more about instructional blogs and to create your own blog, review the information and examples below. Once you have identified how you want to use blogs in your course go to the "Performing" link for the step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process of acutally creating a blog.
Using Blogs in the Classroom
- Instructional Blogging: An Online Scavenger Hunt
- Instructional Blogging on Campus - Arizona State - Extending Instructional Uses of Blogs to the Campus: A Case Study [pdf]
- Blogging 101 - Web Logs go to School
- Blog Write
- The Education Podcast Network
- Academic Blogs (Crooked Timber) - List by Discipline
- Lawrence Lessig - Lectures, articles, podcasts
- Stephen Downes - Stephen's Web - Senior researcher for Institute for Information Technology's e-Learning Research Group
- Jay Cross - Internet Time Blog - Internet pioneer of eLearning, in early 1998 he presented the Internet Time Machine at TechLearn 98.
- Exploration Guide: Educational Uses of Blogs, Wikis, etc (TLT Group)
- EduFrag - Educational Gaming at Drexel - Check out the link to Jean-Claude Bradley (Contributors) and see his numerous blogs.
- Multi-User Blog Tools - Review
To create your blog, review the information on the "Exploring" link and the steps below. Once you have identified how you want to use blogs in your courses you can go to the step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process of acutally creating a blog.
Create a Classroom Blog
What You Need:
- Computer with Internet access
- Account on a blog site (see Exploring - Blog Providers section of this page)
- Blogger Tutorial - Online (Mt. Royal College)
- Publishing a Blog with Blogger by Elizabeth Castro
(Peachpit Press, 2005, $12.99)
- Publishing a Blog with Blogger by Elizabeth Castro
- Create Your Blog - A step-by-step process on Blogger.com
- Using RSS to Aggregate Student Blogs
- Most blogs have a link to their feeds--look for the graphic icon labelled "XML" or a link that says RSS. The link provides you with the URL to get the feed for their blog.
- Once you have the URL you go into your blog and add it to your subscriptions.
- Using RSS to Find Content
Below are some of the many blog hosting services. Many hosted blog sites are free. Take some time to explore each of these resources to determine the best fit for you. To compare blog software providers' capabilities, review the comparison chart.
Blogger - http://www.blogger.com
This provider has been around a long time and was bought by Google in 2003. It is very user friendly.
Example site - Blogging Across the Curriculum
Live Journal - http://www.livejournal.com
This provider promotes learning communities. In order to obtain a free account you have to be sponsored by a member.
Bloglines provides free accounts and has an easy to use interface and many features including news feeds, email subscriptions, package tracking, weather, etc.
WordPress - http://www.wordpress.org
This company is open source and provides free downloads which then are hosted by an institution. You can also use a hosted provider which may assess a fee for their services.
Example Site: Crooked Timber
Moveable Type - http://www.moveabletype.org
This provider is fee based. It was free for schools but their policy changed in 2004.
Radio Userland- http://radio.userland.com
This provider is fee based. This application runs on your desktop and you upload your posts to a web site.
Example site: Weblogs at Harvard Law