Professors have found many pedagogical applications for blogging as a learning tool. Currently, most of the blogging in coursework is used to synthesize content and develop or strengthen a community of learners. As I work to complete a study on blogging, several novel ideas come to the forefront. In the following examples, students have experienced real-world applications, community bonding, professional growth, and “digital convergence” (Wilder, 2013).
David Miller and Larisa Olesova wanted to incorporate experiential learning activities to teach students majoring in media communication (Miller & Olesova, 2015). The course was called “Media Criticism,” and explained in a presentation at an annual conference for faculty and staff at George Mason University in the fall of 2014. Their final assignment incorporated a public course blog created by the professor. The students were required to submit a paper for possible publication. The student papers critiqued and peer-reviewed, provided experience with what it would be like to go through the publication process in the real world.
Ramsey, Aman, and Pursel developed a course for faculty and staff on College Teaching (Ramsey, Aman, & Rursel, 2014). They wanted to incorporate blogging as a way to develop experience in using the tool and have their students become proficient at posting and publishing content. They wanted instructors and professors to have the confidence to use the tool in their courses. The feeling was that blogging is a multifaceted process. You must learn how to work with the publishing tool, and you also needed to become comfortable with writing and publishing your ideas and understandings. This course was being taught two ways, on campus once a week and in a blended format that only met face to face three times with two blogs, one voluntary and the other mandatory. They felt that the blended course needed a stronger community building format since they only met a few times, so their blogging was mandatory. Both blogs were highly successful, and the blended students continued their blog even after the course had finished.
A third example comes from two professors at Meredith College in Raleigh NC, USA. Dr. Susan Fisher and Dr. Rebecca Duncan. Fisher is in the Department of Nutrition, Health, and Human Performance. Her focus is on teaching clinical nutrition and aging. She developed an online food lab and taught student-focused traditional and online courses. Duncan is a professor of English and teaches professional writing as well as British and world literature courses. Her publications include essays on contemporary world literature and film and a novel, Secrets of Gray Lake (Anaphora Literary Press). She blogs at www.characterrescue.com/ . These ladies developed a course called: Blogs and More. A framework for a professional course for nutrition dietetic intern students and incorporated the writing strengths of an English teacher. Fisher noted (2015), “The weekly assignments highlighted distinct components of a successful blog. The synthesis of the components to a specific audience and subject matter led the student-centered learning and the student’s creation of their blog.”
The last example here is from a professor at the University of Nevada, Michael Wilder. Wilder is an online Learning Specialist and teaches multiple web-related courses. For the past four years, he has spear-headed the convergence of print related marketing and news media to a digital format. He believes blogging takes to this transition easily and adds an air of sophistication (Wilder, 2013). He explained that “newer features allow open-source blogging systems to become full-fledged virtual communities that enable sophisticated social interaction, collaboration, and peer evaluation (2013).”
Something about taking blogging out of the LMS and making it public provides a whole new dimension. Students and faculty alike take their writing more seriously. They get an experiential learning technique that transcends into their professional future. How have you incorporated blogging into coursework or within a professional realm?
Miller, D., & Olesova, L. (2015). DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING THROUGH MULTIMEDIA-BASED ACTIVITIES AND BLOGGING. Retrieved 11 9, 2015, from OLC Online Learning Consortium: http://olc.onlinelearningconsortium.org/effective_practices/designing-and-implementing-experiential-learning-through-multimedia-based-activi
Ramsey, C. M., Aman, D. D., & Rursel, B. K. (2014, June). Blogging pragmatics and pedagogy: An adventure in faculty development. Education and Information Technologies, 19(2), 425-440.
Wilder, M. (2013). MULTIUSER BLOGGING AS AN EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION. Retrieved 11 9, 2015, from OLC- Online Learning Consortium: http://olc.onlinelearningconsortium.org/effective_practices/multiuser-blogging-educational-innovation