A blog, derived from the term “Web log”, is a website where content is written in a journal entry style. Many blogs function as online personal diaries and typically provide commentary on topics ranging from politics to games to daily activities. A typical blog includes text, images, and links to blogs, websites, videos, and audio files.
A blog entry usually consists of:
- Title: Headline of the post.
- Permalink: URL of the full article.
- Comments: To provide feedback and discussion.
- Categories/Tags: Listing subjects relevant to the post.
- Trackback/Pingback: A list of links to sites referred to in the post.
Many blog authoring tools will also allow the user to add additional widgets (an add-in feature) such as calendars, count-downs, photo galleries, RSS feeds, and many others to further personalize a blog.
Application to All Courses
The primary benefits of blogs will be similar in regular, large enrollment and online and hybrid courses including as a method of providing information, a method of assessment, and a method to garner participation and communication between students. Some of the benefits of blogs include:
- Allows for access to posted information at any time from any location.
- Allows for the posting of multimedia including links, images, music, and videos. Some blogging sites such as WordPress give the user the ability to upload a file to be later downloaded by a blog viewer.
- Comments can be moderated and removed if necessary.
- The instructor can compile student blogs or blog posts using RSS feed capabilities making assessment of student blog posts easier.
- Blog posts can be made public or private allowing for posts to only be seen by subscribers.
- Reduces the amount of paper-based assignment submissions. Additionally, blog posts are time and date stamped allowing for instructors to enforce submission due dates.
Some ways in which a blog could be utilized in regular, large enrollment or online & hybrid courses include:
- The instructor can post readings, links, multimedia, announcements, course calendars, and more on their personal blog page to keep students informed.
- Regularly post about current course topics rather than submitting a paper-based written essay. For example, in a foreign language course students can post a few paragraphs each day in the foreign language to gain more experience than with regular textbook exercises.
- Post and then be required to comment on other student posts in order to create a dialogue or give peer-review feedback. For example, a student in a creative writing course can post short written exercises on their blog page thus allowing for comments from other students and the instructor.
- Post and critique information. For example, in a journalism course a student may post a news article and then critique the article for content and sources.
- Utilize the blog as a student portfolio for the class including papers, presentations, literature reviews, links to resources, and so on.
- View an example of a blog that was created for an educational setting.
- Top 50 Blogs on Distance Learning & Online Education
The process for getting started with a blog will depend on the blogging site that you choose to use. Generally the process will be:
- Register with a blogging site and create a username and password.
- Choose a template for your site and if desired, personalize your site.
- Add any components to your site that you wish such as polls, links, and so on.
- Give permission to others who you wish to allow to be an author on your site.
- Change your blog settings to public or private depending on who you wish to let read your blog. Note that most blogs will automatically be set to public.
- Use the blogging manager to begin writing your blogs. Once you finish a blog there will be an option to “publish” the blog which will then make it available on your blog website for others to read.
Articles – Journal and Academic
- ELI Discovery Tool: Guide to Blogging: An article by Educause discussing the obstacles and benefits to using blogs as an educational tool in higher education.
- Exploring the Use of Blogs as Learning Spaces in the Higher Education Sector: A scholarly article from the journal “Australasian Journal of Educational Technology” explores the use of blogs in higher education.
- Feedback as dialogue: exploring the links between formative assessment and social software in distance learning: A scholarly article from the journal “Learning, Media and Technology” exploring the relationship between formal assessment and social software including social software such as social citations, wikis and blogs.
- The appropriation and repurposing of social technologies in higher education: A scholarly journal article from the “Journal of Computer Assisted Learning” discussing a study of three courses that utilized blogs and wikis, the pedagogy behind them, and the implications for future courses. Full text article is available through the University of Florida libraries journal collections.
- The Phenomenon of Blogs and Theoretical Model of Blog Use in Educational Contexts: A scholarly article from the journal “Computers and Education” exploring the use of blogs in education in the context of systems theory. Full text article is available through the University of Florida libraries journal collections.
Blog Websites and Applications
For information on similar tools visit:
Keep accessibility in mind as you develop course content and build assignments and assessments. Many online tools are not fully accessible, so it’s important to think about how you will make the assignment accessible if requested. The Disability Resource Center and the UF Accessibility page will guide you in making appropriate accommodations. You can also find out more about accessibility at our toolbox page on Accessibility in the Online Classroom.