Strategies For Blog-Powered Instruction

Reposted from Jennifer Demski at Campus Technology

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,” explains 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,” explains 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,” advises 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,” explains 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.”

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