Goals & Objectives:

The goal of this activity will partly be dependent on the field being addressed. The usual goal is to have students reflect upon current issues in a field and critically analyze aspects of those issues. Sometimes, the blog is used as a journaling or reflection tool as well, when the student reflects upon recent learning and organizes thoughts on that learning in order to reinforce, deconstruct/reconstruct, and internalize knowledge.

Prerequisites:

Students will either need access to the necessary news sources or have completed a unit of activity on which to reflect.

Materials and Resources:

What needs to be prepared in advance by the teacher? The assignment description.

What does the student need to bring to the lesson? A concise yet edifying summary of a given story and knowledge gained during a unit of study.

Guiding Questions for this Activity:

Depending on the purpose, the guiding question may be what is currently happening in a given field or what have the students learned in the given unit.

Activity Outline and Procedure:

In addition to an activity description in the syllabus including instructions or links to tutorials on how to use any blogging technology necessary, the students are instructed as to what to include in their blogs and how often they are required to post at a minimum to that blog. Within 2-3 days of a required posting, students may be required to comment on the blogs of other students.

Teaching Strategies and Issues:

  • Time the blog assignment with its purpose. If it is a reflection exercise, it should come at the end of the module. If the purpose is to report current events, it should occur towards the beginning of the unit, as the blogs can serve as starting points for discussion on the topics.
  • Prepare instructions for any blog software. Included in these instructions should be materials explaining exactly what a blog is with regards to its intended use in your class.
  • There are several free blogging software packages available. You don't have to spend money.
  • In some groups, you may need to address cyberbullying issues.
  • Some schools actively ban school blogging.

Accommodations:

What accommodations may be needed for students with disabilities or other special needs? In general, this assignment will have few accommodations. Check that students have links to accessible blog reading software.

Timeline:

How much time would a typical online student require to complete such a lesson? Assuming that there will be several days of preparation at the least, an online instructor must also add on time for technology issues and instruction for such an assignment.

Ideas for Activity Evaluation and Teacher Reflection:

How was student learning verified? The actual product and its value are primary judgments of learning. You can also judge students reading of other students' blogs through comments made in other course discussions.

How did the students like the lesson? End of semester evaluations should ask about the usefulness and learning accomplished through such activities. Questions related to blog posts might be added to other course activities.

Blogging Software: (in alphabetical order)

Additional Reading:

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