DePaul Teaching & Learning BlogsInstructional Design
Blogs or Weblogs are, in their base form, simply online journals. Such journals can be public or private and allow both faculty and students an opportunity to express themselves in a form other than the formal essay.
The following list highlights a few of their key benefits:
- Foster opportunities for reflection: Journaling provides students and faculty with an opportunity to reflect upon what they are learning and doing. The tone of a blog can range from intensely personal and informal to more formal with most blogs falling somewhere between these two extremes.
- Encourage creativity of expression: Blogs offer the opportunity for informal communication and creativity of expression. Such opportunities allow for the unique personalities of students and faculty to emerge, creating a better sense of community, especially in an online class environment
- Develop a sense of connectedness: In courses that have service learning components or are intensive in nature, reflective blogs allow students to stay connected to their peers and their instructor. It also allows one to quickly interact with a diverse audience.
Assessing Learning in Blogs
San Diego State University offers a sample blog rubric for assessing learning in reflective blogs.
Example Course Blogs
J514 - Opinion and Column Writing at DePaul University is a space for students to publish original opinion/editorial pieces from a graduate journalism class taught by Joe Cappo of the College of Communication.
Course Blogs from the University of Mary Washington includes example blogs from a diverse range of disciplines such as Art History, Economics, Computer Science, Psychology, and Music.
Fredericksburg Historical Markers Blog shows one class's presentation and archive of a semester-long project from a seminar course at the University of Mary Washington entitled “Digital History”.
MIT Department of Civial and Environmental Engineering Fieldwork Blogs consists of reports from students as they work on projects in different countries all over the world.
Wikis are collaborative websites that allows users to modify and create content. Since students can use wikis to create drafts, make changes, post comments and "publish" final results, they are well-suited for collaborative learning and writing activities. Wikis also enable students and their instructors to review document histories, offering opportunities for students to reflect on their own learning and discouraging plagiarism or academic dishonesty.
Wiki Strategies and Resources
Wikis have been shown to be very effective for these types of learning activities:
- knowledge-building over time through versions and groups
- progressive or open-ended problem solving
- communities of practice such as internships or field experiences
- explaining increasingly diverse and contrary ideas as well as examining the relatedness of ideas from diverse contexts
- combining, synthesizing, and evaluating definitions and terminology across disciplines
- critically reading and responding in a constructive and public way to others' work
IDD Blog Posts Covering Wikis
- Back to Basics: Free Tools I Can’t Live Without October 5th, 2009
- Working with Wikis June 23rd, 2009
- Wikis, We’ve Got Wikis Part II February 9th, 2009
- Wikis, We’ve Got Wikis December 2nd, 2008
Examples of Course Wikis
- CC222: Greek Tragedy from Skidmore College resembles Wikipedia, which will be familiar to students and faculty alike and is thus an easy entry-point into working with wikis.
- Social Justics Movements from Columbia University includes a very helpful guide to editing wikies on the Help page.
- LCST 201: Constructing the News from the College of William & Mary makes good use of links and images.
- HUMS3001: Censorship and Responsibility from the University of New South Wales was runner-up for the Edublog Awards 2009 award for Best Educational Wiki.
Additional Readings and Resources:
Deng, L., & Yuen, A.. (2009). Blogs in higher education: Implementation and issues. TechTrends, 53(3), 95-98. Retrieved December 10, 2009, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 1796217151).
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (2005). Seven things you should know about blogs.
Glenn, D. (2003). Scholars who blog: The soapbox of the digital age draws a crowd of academics. Chronicle of Higher Education (originally printed, June 6, 2003).
Parker, K., & Chao, J. (2007). Wiki as a teaching tool. Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge & Learning Objects, 3, 57-72. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.
Teaching with Wikis Wiki from the University of Minnesota includes sample wiki projects, suggestions for assessing wikis, wiki rubrics, and ideas about using wikis to teach writing.
Wiki Pedagogy from Renée Fountain at the Université Laval provides a scholarly and somewhat theoretical perspective on the use of wikis in teaching.
Wikibooks: How to Start a Wiki addresses technical considerations related to starting a wiki.