4. Blogging considerations

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Meg’s Blogagogical objectives

  1. To measure the importance of good educational design before you set up class blogs.
  2. To begin to formulate an educational design framework for using blogs in your class.

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Your Blogagogical objectives

What are you hoping to learn from this module? Your objectives can be the same as mine, but is there anything else you are expecting to learn? Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!

Blog it here.

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Introduction

Wow! Blogs sound fantastic! I want to start using them right now in class! Well, before you do, you need to think a few things through. This module is aimed at using blogs in a course context and starts you off with some of the educational design ground work you will need to undertake before you start blogging in class. If you’re using blogs purely for professional or class management purposes, you might want to skip ahead to the Privacy, security and copyright module.

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Focus questions: Educational design

What educational design process do you normally go through when starting up a new course or class topic? Can this be effectively transferred or modified to the blogging context? How important to you is the instructional design process? What are your strengths when it comes to designing education for your students? Where do you typically fall down? What do you need to know more about? Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner in the class, or blog it!

Blog it here.

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Blogging considerations

Like anything to do with the use of technology for education, it’s the hard, curriculum, educational or instructional design work that underpins how successful your class blogging experiences will be.

Have you thought about

  • Your purpose or vision for the blog?
  • Your objectives? Learning outcomes?
  • Your audience?
  • What students will be doing on the blog?
  • How will you communicate your expectations?
  • How will you cover the set curriculum?
  • How you will use the blog to scaffold learning into the blogging environment?
  • How will you evaluate the effectiveness of using the blog in class?
  • What types of exchanges you want from students?
  • What connections students should be making between the course materials?
  • How to get students engaging with controversies in the area?
  • Where students will source their data from?
  • What concepts you want students to engage with?
  • What other tools you will encourage students to use to meet your learning objectives?

Make sure you (Farmer 2005)

  • Are clear about why you will use a blog/blogs over other things
  • Use blogs for what they are good for (reflecting, communicating, posting ideas — see the module on blogs in education)
  • Use proven blogging tools such as WordPress or Blogger
  • Tell students how you will assess their work
  • Include instructions and guidelines for tasks, problem-solving approaches and work routines (Tan, Ow and Ho 2005: 4) (pdf)

Some more practical considerations might also be

  • Will you need any technical or teaching assistance in setting up the blog or blogs?
  • How much time do you have to manage blogging in the classroom?
  • Will you moderate comments and posts or will you ask students to work in rotating teams to do it?
  • Are you using the blog to encourage individual student reflection or group student collaboration?
  • Will you let students set up their own blogs or will you do it for them? If you let them set up their own blogs, will you require that they use the blogging software that you specify, or can they chose their own? If they choose their own, what minimum requirements must it meet in terms of functionality?

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The ADDIE model

If you don’t know of the ADDIE model, then it might be useful to have a quick look at it. It basically means that for each educational experience you design, you should:

  • Analyse
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Instruct
  • Evaluate

Check out the links and resources below if you want to learn more.

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Exercise: Blogging in your class

Think of a class context in which you would want to use blogs. Create a design for your students’ educational experience, based on the considerations outlined above. What learning outcomes do you want? What blogging strategies and tasks will you use so that your students reach those outcomes? Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it! You can also use Meg’s Blogging Plan to help guide you (pdf, 296 KB).

Blog it here.

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Reflection

Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!

  • What have I learnt?
  • What is still unclear?
  • What do I need to follow up on?
  • Where to from here?
  • What other stuff I have read or accessed to help me make sense of it all?

Blog it here.

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Links and resources

Instructional design basics, (pdf) John McGloon

Instructional design, Hari Srinivas

Web-based instructional design, Virginia Tech

Instructional design template for the Web, Ken Oliver

Instructional design tips for online learning, onlineteachers wiki

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