My colleague, Lee, will soon be offering a workshop on teaching with blogs, and it caused me to reflect on my own experience as a student learning with and through blogs and blogging.
As a student there were a bunch of different kinds of blog posts I was assigned, each serving different purposes, and each having different tones. I reflected, summarized, analyzed, explained, and showcased in blog posts. Most of the time I would have an assignment or a prompt for a blog post, and that would be the driving force in what I was writing about. This model worked well for composing blog posts that became part of a larger conversation, analyzed a reading, or had to formally reflect upon something. However, there were times that my blogging wasn’t as regulated or prompted by assignments.
In a few courses blogging was necessary, but not bound by strict guidelines. I enjoyed that model for blogging since the basic structure of what I should blog about was there, but the requirements of the blog posts themselves were not very stringent. This left me some room to be creative and to develop my own voice for blogging. I also liked when I could use images, gifs, or videos in blog posts. I wasn’t always told I couldn’t use media in posts, but until I understood what was expected of me, I tended to not use media unless it was required. However, adding media to blog posts made writing them less tedious since then I could support my thoughts in another way besides writing.
Below are some of the different kinds of blog posts I composed over my junior and senior years at UMW.
Short Blog Posts About an Assignment
A Longer Reflection/Defense Post
The Outlier: Tutorial Blog Post
I share these because as you think about using blogs and assigning blogging in your class, you want to always be thinking of your students and how they conceive and interpret the assignment, not to mention, thrive in doing them.