Last Updated: November 3rd, 2016

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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.

Teaching Methods

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.


Getting Started

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.

Additional Resources

Articles – Journal and Academic

Blog Websites and Applications

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