The introduction of blogging as a learning aid in educational has benefits for both the individual and the class as a whole. At the individual level, blogging can be utilized to develop writing skills at a mechanical level. The ease of posting on the internet for a class (in comparison to writing a paper or handing in a written response) also develops skills through repetition. Posting is more enjoyable to the student because of the range of focus and the ability to write freely. Another advantage to blogging is that students are forced to both develop an opinion and learn to express it through writing. Students in an interactive class environment are also forced to defend the opinions they express in posts

A major advantage of blogging is that it allows for an audience. In our first class we did an exercise that showcased the importance of having an audience, knowing who the audience is, and gearing your writing towards that audience. Handing a writing assignment to a teacher for a grade generally means that one person is reading your writing. Posting a writing assignment to a class blog means that the entire class and potentially the entire Internet are part of the audience. Another advantage is that the class experience is not limited to the scheduled meeting times throughout the week. Classes can stay more connected.

The idea of staying more connected throughout the week may also be seen as a negative. In the busy lives student’s lead between athletics, extra curricular activities, Greek life, working on campus, and applying for jobs, the responsibility of staying connected outside of scheduled class can be a daunting task. On a fundamental level, students may actually regress in writing skills because of the loose mechanics often used in online posting.

I feel that blogging certainly has a place in the classroom but the effectiveness of it depends on the structure. Blogging can be used most effectively to engage students outside the classroom. It has the ability to aide in developing thoughts, beliefs, and opinions. I think that the ability to advance writing skills is possible but it is negated by the inherent laid back structure of blogging.

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7 responses »

  1. Claire McCardell says:

    I think you brought up a very valid point that blogging may lead to students regressing in writing skills due to the nature and informality of blogging. However, I think that when blogging is combined with formal essays in a class structure students are able to gain the benefits of blogging without sacrificing the traditional writing skills that we’ve learned throughout grade school and high school. Its informal tone allows students to focus more on ideas and less on grammar/structure, which helps in understanding course materials and brainstorming ideas to develop further into an essay.

    • clr020 says:

      I agree that a structure of that nature would end up being beneficial to writing mechanics. Writing about blogging made me think about the few classes I’ve had where blogging was part of the curriculum. I noticed that their structures were all pretty different. I had a class last semester that you posted a response to one question of the teachers page. Nobody other students responses or thought about other’s ideas. People weren’t compelled to respond to others or defend their own points. It was not very productive as part of a learning experience. Comparing that to the end of the spectrum we are currently experiencing shows that the range of structure for blogging is extremely wide. The benefits and usefulness of the blog to both the class and the students seems to be pretty dependent on how the teacher designs its use.

  2. Jordi says:

    I choose to make this blog a fairly open forum. You suggest that blogging is better for students to write due to its openness. My point is that is an instructor’s choice- it is not essential to the software or genre.

  3. Jordi says:

    Is it so crazy to think you might actually start to care MORE about mechanics and making mistakes if you tried to make sure your writing was close to perfect all the time? In other words, misusing, commas, and; semi-Colons, or any other problems that often come up with writing by students and whatnot even if it is on a blog is still a problem for the reader and can, make, you. seem like you dont write well

    THAT was on purpose.

    • clr020 says:

      That is a good point that I had not really considered. I guess when content is graded on pass/fail or credit is giving simply for posting then people would be less inclined. The motivation to make care more about mechanics and less mistakes by being close to perfect would, again, likely be a factor of the structure of the blog.

      i.e.I care a bit more about my mechanics in this blog because I am aware that you and others are reading it. In my a previous response I mentioned a blog for a class where responses were read by just the teacher. The structure of that blog made me care less about the mechanics and being close to perfect.

    • I agree completely with this. In my experience with blogging, I’ve found that the more grammatically correct you are, and the more professional your writing is, the more seriously you are taken. I think that open-forum blogging like this for a class might be even more of an incentive to write well, because deep down we all want to look smart in front of each other.

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