Why Your Students Should Do a Blog Study
Here at the Faculty eCommons, we’re constantly on the prowl for ideas and tools that make learning timely and relevant for the busy online community. We were thrilled to find another idea in George Couros’s blog post 6 Reasons Why You Should Do a “Blog Study”, where he shares the benefits of performing a “blog study” (instead of the lengthier, traditional book study). In this post, we summarize Couros’s thoughts as they may support your course goals.
Find a blog, and subscribe to its posts (Couros recommends these two education-focused blogs: Bill Ferriter or Dean Shareski). Make sure to study a blog whose author(s) post content consistently. Perhaps contact the blog author to alert that you and your students will be studying the blog.Students can reflect on the blog topics through written assignments or discussion boards; encourage the conversation to include students’ opinions about the posts and how the published ideas apply to your curriculum. You can host a dialogue with students on social media platforms like Twitter (just remember to create your own hashtag to archive the conversation). You can also guide students to start their own blogs with free sites like Blogger, WordPress, and Storify.
Blog Study Benefits
1. Drive powerful learning with a shorter time commitment.
Blog posts are structured to read quickly, but they can still spark powerful ideas and conversations. To communicate a quick, concise message, an author may include a short, yet informative podcast, quotation, or video. The blog structure enables educators to engage students in meaningful discussions while maximizing valuable time.
2. Learn anywhere, anytime, anyplace.Students can access a blog from any device connected to the Internet, which makes blog reading highly accessible to a variety of students. And because students can read a blog from any device, they can learn at their own pace around their own schedule.
3. Interact with the author.A blog can help students reach the author. Students can comment on posts—such as seeking clarification, challenging a statement, or contributing ideas to the post topic. And because blogs are innately a social, sharing platform, the author is likely to respond to students directly.
4. Learning connects more learning.Bloggers share ideas (theirs and others’), exponentially growing a network of references and links throughout the web. With myriad references and links to other sources, blogs introduce and connect readers to even more blogs, social media accounts, and articles, which makes blogs an excellent source for self-directed learning. Students can embark on a new learning journey with every post they read.
5. Share ideas and start conversations.Students can learn how blogging starts conversations because they’re exposed to the power of sharing ideas and knowledge. After experiencing how a blog reads conversationally and uses various media to communicate an idea, students may be comfortable starting their own blogs.
We’d love to know how you’ve used blogs in your online course. Have blogs been effective in your course?