Are Blogs Relevant in Higher Education in 2013?

21 02 2013

Recently TLTR (both Sitka and regional) have discussed blogs. While the conversation centered specifically on the rationale for using a blog hosted external to the university’s course management system (like this WordPress blog) instead of a university supported tool (like the blog inside of Blackboard), we felt this might be a good time to talk about blogs in general. Why they might be used, how they differ from discussion boards, and just some pros and cons of using a blog inside of Blackboard or a blog external to your course.  At the conclusion of this post, we’d love you to comment, tell us your experience with blogs, positive or negative. Share with us what you like about blogs and how you are using them in your classes.

How Do They Differ from Discussion Boards?
First, let’s be clear, a blog can be used in many, many different ways. However, typically a blog is used by a person or group to publish ideas or information and solicit comments. In other words 1 post, many comments. Most blogs have 2 or 3 columns. The first often column contains content and comments; the second may have a list of recent posts and categories; finally, the last column may have a word cloud to help you find a topic quickly and a search bar. Of course this varies widely, as you choose the template and create the look and feel of your blog.

In contrast, the usual threaded discussion has posts that may have equal ranking from many people, and comments can generate their own small discussions. Unlike a blog which is quite chronological in nature, our Blackboard discussion boards, for example, can be organized by person, by topic, by date etc.

So if discussion boards are so flexible, why would we want to blog? Read the rest of this entry »








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