Internal - Faculty & Staff

Blogs

The term “blog” is short for “web log.” Blogs are easy-to-publish websites consisting of entries that are organized and displayed in chronological order. Entries are often referred to as “posts,” and can include personal commentary, links to other websites, images, and even video.

A blog can have one or many contributors, but each entry is written by only one author.  Generally, once an entry is submitted, only the author can edit the original post. The blog administrator, however, has the ability to edit or remove inappropriate content.  Blogs normally include functionality that allows readers to comment on individual posts, as well as to subscribe to and tag posts with keywords.

Because they are organized chronologically, blogs are commonly used for personal journaling. One way to think of blogs is that they are similar to a traditional journal or diary, but published publicly on the internet. Blogs can also be used to create an online community for people with the same interests by linking to other blogs and websites that pertain to a topic of interest to a group.

1. Communicate Expectations

Communicate expectations for how the blog should be used by students. Give students guidelines and examples of what you expect in a typical post.

2. Netiquette Lesson

Consider giving students a quick lesson in “netiquette” to ensure that they understand how to communicate effectively using the digital medium.

3. Remind them of their Audience

Remind students to keep their audience in mind. If the blog they are publishing to is made available to the public, it is important they understand this when crafting entries. A student writing for a public audience may feel less comfortable sharing personal details than if they were writing for an audience of only classmates. Similarly, a student who is writing for the public may also want to provide more detail and background information so that a member of the public audience can understand the background information being discussed in the class.

4. Experiment

Give students a low-stakes opportunity to experiment with the blogging technology.

5. Rubric for Assessment

If students will be assessed on their contributions to a blog, consider providing a rubric for students to know the criteria on which their contributions will be evaluated.

AdvantagesChallenges
Ability for novices to quickly and easily publish content to a website.New content can be posted from almost any computer that has access to the internet, and (depending on the blogging software) is usually as easy as typing words into a text box or word processing program.Perfect platform for disseminating up-to-the-minute information.Quick and easy posting leads to entries that are more informal in nature than traditional publications. The informal nature also gives users the freedom to write what they wish, which can lead to more open conversation about topics and increased information sharing.Published content is searchable, making it easy to find others who are sharing information about similar topics.No vetting of content; individuals searching for information about a topic may encounter a website that may be written by an author who has no credibility regarding that particular subject.Largely unmediated; unless a blog administrator exists who can edit or remove inappropriate or incorrect information, content will remain on the Web for anyone to access.