Using Blogs in Teaching and Learning
Making Connections and Improving Learning
@sisterzissou Alverno Summer Hybrid Class 2013
Close up photo of Jaume Plensa's Spillover II in Atwater Park by Michael Newman. Some rights reserved
What is a blog?
Blogs or "web logs" emerged with the growth of the internet and more accessible web publishing tools in the late 1990s. At their inception, blogs were largely single-authored pages focused on a topic or theme, or perhaps general personal reflection, but now function in many ways from multi-author blogs to micro-blogging. This almost 25 year old technology shapes the way we experience the web and undoubtedly has contributed to the overwhelming success of the web to infiltrate all aspects of our lives.
Key features (These are not all required to be considered a blog).
Organization based on "posts" - or discrete entries to the log.
Multiple posts, usually displayed in reverse chronological order.
Normally, they include a time stamp (this can be changed or manipulated).
Readers are often invited to comment or reply to posts on the blog.
The blog contains archives so that you can follow posts.
Titles to each post
Tagging is employed by the most successful blogs as a means of organization.
Many blogs include "About" pages that provide details on author(s) and the blog's purpose.
Many blogs contain a Blogroll - or links to other related blogs.
Many blogs contain feeds (RSS or other)
With advancements in media interfaces for blogs, blogs can now be dedicated to various media forms including sound recordings, images, and video.
A Few Examples
Milwaukier than Thou, http://milwaukier-than-thou.tumblr.com/
- Technorati - Top 100 Blogs
- News Aggregator - Huffington Post (Ranked #1 by Technorati)
- Fashion - The Sartorialist
- Video Blogs/Professional - Valerie's Video St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- Lunch Hour Lectures Museum of London - Soundcloud
- Academic (Informational: Google Student Blog, Departmental: MU History Dept, Extracurricular: Alverno Dance Team, Research: Edible Geography / Infranetlab, Student: Witches, Student Travel Blog)
Why use a blog?
Alverno College, "The 8 Core Abilities" http://www.alverno.edu/academics/ouruniquecurriculum/the8coreabilities/
Versatility - Multiple Media for any purpose
Teaching and Learning for the Abilities
Potential for Peer and Self Assessment
Mastery of Content
Public or Private Audiences
What makes a blog successful?
- Focus: Interest Driven
- Production: Students Create Something they Can Save and Share
- Peer-to-Peer Learning: Lots of space for peer and self assessment
- Academic Focus: Make the blog about student learning and fully integrate it into the course.
- Engaging the Tools Embedded: Tagging, Linking, Media Use, Titles, Organization, Archives, Feeds
- Having your own blogging practice - being a good mentor!
What web publishing tool should I choose for my class?
"Milwaukee Works Out: 'Ownership is Alverno's Wellness Theme" Photo by Scott Paulus, BizJournal http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/print-edition/2011/04/22/milwaukee-works-out-ownership-is.html?page=all
Getting students engaged and generating content
Public vs. private
Encouraging multi-media use
Occasional technology failures and mishaps (although quite rare)
Blog Graveyard - Staying committed and knowing when to stop
Thank you for your attention!
Blood, Rebecca. "Weblogs: A History and Perspective", Rebecca's Pocket. 07 September 2000. 12 July 2011. .
LeFever, Lee and Sachi. "Blogs in Plain English", The Commoncraft Show.
Mielsen, Rich. "Blogs 101", The New York Times. .