I have observed differences in how student blogs work in a variety of areas. There appears to be a spectrum in at least six key areas
Having said this, she is also mindful that every school has its own context and exists at a different point on the continuum of six aspects: duration, privacy, content, reflection, quality and control.
One of the questions that I am frequently asked about blogging and have included in my webinar on the topic is “do you recommend that I have just one blog or should all of my students have their own blogs?” There is not a clear cut answer to this question because the answer depends upon how you envision using blogs in your teaching practice.
If your use of blogging is going to be limited to just distributing information about your class(es) to students and their parents, one blog is all that you need. Even if you teach multiple courses, one blog is sufficient if you’re only using it to distribute information. Simply label each new blog post with the name or section of the course for whom the information is intended. From a management standpoint it is far easier to label each blog post on one blog than it is to maintain a different blog for each course that you teach. That is a lesson that took me one semester to learn.
In regards to students, for a single class Byrnes recommends a group approach:
The solution that I recommend is to create a group blog for each class that you teach. Create the blog using whichever platform you like then make each student an author on the blog. To track who wrote what on the blog make sure that the author’s name (first names only or use pen names with young students). Alternatively, you can have students label or tag posts with their names or pen names to sort out who wrote what. As the creator and owner of the group blog you will be able to see who wrote what from your administrative panel, but that doesn’t help parents who want to check the blog to see what their children have been sharing.
While if you have 25+ students in a class then use something like Feedly to manage blogs. My question about this approach is that it assumes that the blogs are private. If you use Campus Press (Global2) then there are other built-in options.
Although I have blogged about my own experiences and Kathleen Morris wrote an extensive post capturing an array of possibilities, I think that it is always useful to stop and consider other perspectives.
My other concern is what might happen if Flickr were to flop or be sold off? What would happen in that situation?
Bringing my processes in house and then POSSEing has actually made me a lot more mindful
- A. of what I share
- B. the notes, quotes and tags associated with this
It has also led to a lot more internal linking. I think that this practice is a continuation of what I started with my Wikity and curated newsletter. I think that the challenge is to continually “apply what you learn“. In the end, I wonder if an element of blogging is located in the present. As Clive Thompson suggests:
Having an audience can clarify thinking. It’s easy to win an argument inside your head. But when you face a real audience, you have to be truly convincing.(wired)
the true power in technology is not just the readiness. The skills. The playing around with tools to create something impossible. It is the power to be seen. To not be alone. To feel that in the world, someone values you. That someone out there gets you.
Going from an audience of zero to an audience of ten is so big that it’s actually huger than going from ten people to a million.
Although connections are powerful, it is important to not over-hype the hoped for outcomes. All that we can do is create the conditions for comments. A point Kathleen Morris makes.
There is one point in your post I wish to clarify:
Davis ponders on whether we should [still] be promoting blogging as a way to connect with an engaged community of thoughtful contributors.
I am not questioning the act of blogging or microblogging. My work associated with the #IndieWeb surely demonstrates that. Rather, I am concerned about the idea of modelling such an intense pattern of writing as means of introduction for those who maybe uninitiated. Just my opinion I guess.
The irony of it all is that I love your writing and always get so much out of it, so I guess I should be grateful for #28daysofwriting as well as your newsletter.
I am left with a thought, maybe the newsletter not micro engagement that has been the ‘death of blogging’? Anyway, enough for now.