Using blogs in your teaching

Brief description

Blogs can be used as a way of structuring the communication arising between teachers and students during a course. The students can also use blogs to interact with other students and stakeholders outside the classroom, turning blogs into a resource that other people can use in an authentic context. This is something which motivates the students.

Blogs can be used in several ways:

  • As part of preparation for class, with the students writing blog posts before class containing questions about the texts of the day. These questions can be dealt with in class and combined with whatever else you have planned.
  • To present exercises which the students have to do by using the comments feature.
  • For handing in assignments for peer reviewing by the other students as part of their preparation.
  • For interacting with an audience who have been invited to comment on the students’ posts.

Motivation for the exercise and required outcome

Blogs are a suitable interaction tool for sharing experiences, discussing issues and making decisions. Blogs link the degree programme in question to the outside world, which can motivate the students and seem relevant to them because they will then be working with authentic problems.

Using blogs in your teaching

Blogs can be used as part of the preparation for your teaching. Blogs can be used in several ways, for instance as part of preparation for your teaching, with the students writing blog posts before class containing questions about the texts of the day. These questions can be dealt with in class and combined with whatever else you have planned.

Blogs can serve as a place for you to present exercises which are then answered by the students using the comments feature; and blogs can also be used to hand in exercises for peer reviewing by the other students as part of their preparation for class.

You should not expect the students to be experienced bloggers, so it may be a good idea to start small by introducing a course blog in which the students can post their assignments or links which are relevant for the course. The next step could be a class blog in which you write posts and the students comment on them. And finally, you can ask the students to create and use group blogs in which they make blog posts and comment on each other’s posts.

If you let the students make individual or group blogs, these can be used by the students to reflect on their own experiences based on the course syllabus and on their own learning process. Both you and the students can comment on these blogs.

Performing the exercise

  • Create a blog or ask the students to create a blog. In this connection, consider which type of blog will be most useful in your teaching: a course blog, a group blog or an individual blog.
  • Define a delimited topic such as a specific subject area or theme, preferably based on relevant issues.
  • Sub-activities along the way: Should each student or group write a specific blog post? Should each student or group write a certain number of comments?
  • Define your expectations about the length and specific wording of the blog posts, such as “I/we can see a dilemma between...”, “I agree with... because...” or “I disagree with... because...”. A clear statement of such expectations may make it easier for students who are not experienced bloggers to get started.
  • Teachers must make it clear to the students whether they will be commenting on or assessing student blogs. If teachers do intend to comment on or assess student blogs, the criteria for evaluation should be made available to the students.

The content of this page was developed by Stine Rank Langhøj, former employee at Center for Teaching development and Digital Media.

Useful tips: 

  • Teachers need to think about how accessible the blog should be:
    • For instance, you could create a blog on Blackboard which can only be accessed by the students on the course in question.
    • You can also create a blog on the internet which is accessible to the public so that other people can read, comment on and participate in the blog. 
  • It is important that you make the framework for the activity clear to the students: What is the purpose of participating in this activity?

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