The Advancement of Tertiary Teaching and Learning/E-Learning/Blogging unplugged

What is a blog edit

A Blog (short for Web Log) can be thought of as a diary or journal where an individual or group of people blog (yes, blog is a verb and a noun) about a topic or topics that interest them. The postings are arranged in reverse chronological order (latest first).

History of blogs edit

Rebecca Blood has a useful article on "Weblogs: a history and perspective" [1] though written in 2000 it is still a useful summary.

Definitions edit

If you're after some definitions try Google's define feature [2]

Anatomy of a blog edit

There's a useful labeled image at Blogger forum [3]. Have asked Steve the author if we can publish it here

How to find blogs edit

Just as books have many different styles and purposes, so do blogs. The easiest way to findout about blogs is to read some. But how do you find them. Well you could type "fishing blog" into your favorite search engine (and when I did this I found 1,310,000 entries!) or you could use a search engine that specialises in blogs (and only blogs). Here are some suggestions.`

Activity: Find a blog

  • Use your favorite search engine, e.g. Google, and search for a blog in a topic area which interests you.
  • Using a couple of the blog search engines listed above repeat your search.
  • Raed some of the blogs your find.

Blogging software edit

If you are going to blog you need blog software. With some the blog is hosted and with others you need to load the software on your own servers. The latter is probably preferable for education settings if you want to have more control.

Free hosted blogs edit

  • Blog City [8] has support files [9] which contains lots of tutorials.
  • Blogger [10] Blogger Tour [11] provides a useful overview for people new to blogging, and Blogger Basics [12] takes you through the basics to get started.
  • BlogSome [13]
  • BlogSpirit [14] one of the few free blogs to offer categories. Help [15] ranges from Introduction to Blogs through changing the look of your blog and loading images, and more
  • BlogHi [16]
  • BlogText [17]
  • ModBlog [18]
  • MyBlogSite [19] Take their tour [20]
  • SeoBlog [21] FAQs [22]
  • [23]

Open Source software edit

Blog plug-ins edit

Blog Rolls edit

A Blogroll is simply a list of links to other websites or blogs. There are no exact criteria for what to include in a blogroll, but as they tend to be more static than a blog, they often include favorite or useful sites. Mpst blogsoftware does not include blogrolls and you need to add one in. Here are some links to blogroll creation software:

See Wikipedia for more information w:Blogroll

Tag Boards edit

Tag Boards enable visitors to leave messages. Unlike comments which relate to a specific posting, it is usual to only have one Tag Board for the whole blog. Tag Boards are often used to encourage interactivity. Tag Boards don't usually come with blog software so you need to add one in:

Blog readers edit

If you are reading more than a handful of blogs you will find it useful to use a blog reader. Many blogs (and other sites) provide feeds (eg RSSand ATOM) which blog readers can collect and present to the user in a variety of ways. This saves you having to visit each blog web site individually. RSS Compendium [42] has a good list of readers.

Using blogs in teaching and learning edit

So you've searched for some blogs, you read your favourites via your feed reader and you are now ready to start using one with students. What can you do? Well the sky is the limit really I suppose but here are some suggestions:

  • Use one of the feed readers which can put content on your course web site to provide updates on what's in the news.
  • Use a photo blog for art students to portfolio their work. Invite art critics to provide feedback in comments.
  • Ask students to blog about the required reading, and post a comment on a peer's blog each week. e.g. Crooked Timber [43]

Resources edit

Here are some resources specifically about using blogs in education.

Articles edit

  • Cooper, CD. & Boddington, L (2005) Assessment by blog: Ethical case studies assessment for an undergraduate business management class. BlogTalk DownUnder Conference [44]
  • Poling, C (2005) Blog on: building communication and collaboration among staff and students. Learning & Leading with Technology March 2005 v32 i6 p12(4)

Video edit

Richardson, W "Weblogs in education video" [45]

Useful links edit

How to use blogs in education