June 22, 2009
E-Coaching Tip 68 (#3 Summer 2009)
Samples of Blog Projects - Getting Started with Blogs
Would you like to get your students to engage more vigorously with the course content? Make your teaching easier and more enjoyable? This tip provides some examples of how blogs — and blogging —are transforming online learning experiences.
As you may recall from earlier tips, the particular value of a blog is similar to a diary or journal; however blogs are being used for much more. A blog is similar to a journal in that a blog provides a dedicated space for reflecting and capturing thinking; it differs from a journal by inviting engagement from others and in being used by small teams or individuals for open collaboration and communication.
With any new tool, getting started can be the biggest hurdle. When I was a stay-at-home mom with four children under 5 years of age for a short time, I found that I often had to segment a big project into 15-minute steps if I had any hope at all of making progress. So this tip suggests two useful ideas: It describes some of the best fits for using the blogging tool; and it provides a template for a project plan so you can carve out time to explore how blogging can make a difference in your students’ learning.
When you complete the plan — about 2- 4 hours total — you will have done the following: (1) completed the self-certification tutorial for blogs; (2) identified a goal for using a blog in your course; (3) created a pilot blog; and (4) had some fun while you explore possible uses of the blogging tool for your own teaching purposes.
Learning Goals for Blogs
One of the most common questions about blogs is, “For what type of learning is a blog best?” Here are some types of learning experiences that blogs are an ideal learning tool.
Individual or Small Team Blogs
Class and Faculty Blogs
Did you notice how the initial idea of a blog as a personal journal space is rapidly morphing into a space for thinking out loud, for answering questions, for sharing open collaborative communication? With this kind of tool, many types of teaching and learning are possible.
Personal Project Plan for Getting Started with Blogging
Here is the personal project plan that you can use to get started with blogging. Obviously you will want to adapt this plan to your particular teaching and learning preferences. There are two major steps: (1) Completing a self-certification or online tutorial; and (2) setting up and trying the blog in your course. You may want to print this out and check off the steps as you go! Note: If you teach at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and prefer to do a face-to-face seminar, check out the days/times of the blogging events at Teaching and Learning with Blogs/Journaling.
Phase 1: Completing the Self-certification Tutorial (Note: This is specific for Duquesne faculty.)
Step 1: (About 30 to 50 minutes with Internet access; have a beverage and paper or digital notepad ready for your comfort.) Go to the SLPA Faculty Webinars in the ‘Courses and Communities’ section of Blackboard and view the archive from the webinar.
Step 2: (5 to 10 minutes) Send an email to Ruth Newberry and request access to the self-certification tutorial for blogs.
Step 3: (5 to 15 minutes) Review email back from Ruth Newberry and check access and process. Print out the PDF file for the tutorial.
Step 4: (30 to 60 minutes) Complete the student experience section of the blog tutorial.
Step 5: (25 to 35 minutes) Complete the instructor experience section of the tutorial.
Step 6: (5 to 10 minutes) Request that the blog tool is made available for your course.
Step 8: (5 to 10 minutes) Go to your course site and check that you can create blogs for your course.
Note: More info on the tutorial is in the last section of this tip.
Phase 2: Piloting a Blog in Your Course
Step 1: (10 to 30 minutes) Review the possible ways of using a blog for the first time from the examples above and select one goal or purpose to pilot. You may decide to create a faculty blog or create a class blog or you may decide to create a blog for each student.
Step 2: (5- 10 minutes) Go into your course site and create the blog that you have selected.
Step 3: (10 – 30 minutes) Prepare an announcement for the class about the purpose and processes for your very own “blog pilot.” You may want to make the first experience a risk-free experience by having few or zero points associated with it.
You are off and running!
Self-Certification Tutorial – More Detail on the Process
For those of you who participated in the blogging webinar last October, you can skip Step 1 of Phase 1 and immediately request access to the self-certification tutorial by emailing Ruth Newberry. Here's how it works.
For those of you who did not participate in the blogging webinar, it is very useful to watch the archive of the blog webinar. It is a great catalyst for helping you think about how and why to use blogs, and thinking about the relative strengths of discussion boards vs. blogs. The resources, including a powerpoint presentation and many of the resources below are in the Information tab of the SLPA Faculty Webinars in Courses and Communities. (Note: Archive of webinar is temporarily unavailable, but will be available soon; resources are available.)
References and Resources
Downes, Stephen & Siemens, George. Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Online Course. (Support wiki with embedded blog). University of Manitoba, Canada. Retrieved June 17, 2009 from http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/wiki/Connectivism - Course_blog_is_available_here.
Duquesne’s Faculty Resources – Blogs. Retrieved June 17, 2009 from http://www.edtech.duq.edu/facultyresources/blogs.cfm
E-Coaching Tip 47 (Summer, 2007): Journaling, Blogging and Wiki-ing. Retrieved June 17, 2009 from http://www.designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/tips/tip47.html
E-Coaching Tip 54 (Spring, 2008): Reaching the Heights of Learning — Authentic Problem-Solving. Retrieved June 17, 2009 from http://www.designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/tips/tip58.html
Little, Julie K. & Page, Carie. Top Teaching and Learning Challenges, 2009 EDUCAUSE Review May/June 2009 pp. 30 - 44. Retrieved June 17, 2009 from http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume44/ChartingtheCourseandTappingthe/171775
McClurken, J. Digital History Seminar (HIST471C3) at University of Mary Washington.
Retrieved June 17, 2009 from http://digitalhistory.umwblogs.org/
Newberry, Ruth. Blogs and Discussion Boards: Spaces for Promoting Critical Thinking and Community. SLPA Faculty Webinar, October 22, 2008. In Information tab of SLPA Faculty Webinars — Item titled: Blogs and Discussion Boards — Resources for the Oct 22, 2008 Webinar
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