Using Blogging in the Classroom to Improve Student Writing
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Using Blogging in the Classroom to Improve Student Writing



Note: This was presented at the Student Success in Writing Conference in Savannah, GA in February 2013. As such, the slides do not fully cover the material presented, so if you are interested contact ...

Note: This was presented at the Student Success in Writing Conference in Savannah, GA in February 2013. As such, the slides do not fully cover the material presented, so if you are interested contact

In the digital age, opportunities for using new media to enhance and encourage student writing are tremendous.
Blogging, for one, has become a popular form of classroom assignment with many cited benefits. These include giving students a broader audience for their writing, allowing them to be more creative in their composition, and enabling them to participate in an ongoing conversation about their work. Students’ motivation to improve their writing also increases due to their desire to benefit their now larger group of readers. But while these benefits certainly are desirable, many of the methods are not so clear-cut.

Since blogging is at its core a platform for writing, not a genre, how does one design effective blogging assignments that foster students’ creativity and a culture of community?

What different blogging models might be best for different types of courses? What role should the instructor play and what learning outcomes should blogging have in conjunction with other class assignments?

Using a semester of student blogging in LIBR 1101, a first-year course in research and information literacy, as a case study, this presentation explores many of these popular benefits of blogging as well as best practices when organizing a blogging assignment. When used effectively, blogging can help students distill and clarify ideas and serve as a valuable supplement to formal writing assignments.

In addition, a more student-centered approach to the writing assignments was found to increase student creativity and engagement.



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    Using Blogging in the Classroom to Improve Student Writing Using Blogging in the Classroom to Improve Student Writing Presentation Transcript

    • Andrew Walsh University of West Georgia Student Success in Writing Conference Savannah, GA, Feb. 8 2013
    • They now have a worldwide forum instead of an audience of one. They see themselves as writers— real writers. (Christen) ―Blogging is informal … The writing suffers … The mind suffers … When your graduates are the only new hires in their office that can write in honest-to-goodness proper English at length, it will pay off in spades.‖ (Chronicle)
    •   Different blogging models Characteristics of an effective blogging assignment  Prompts, instructor role, assessment  LIBR 1101: Academic Research and the Library
    •  Blog as platform, not genre (Galarza)  So, how do we best integrate blogging into our classes?
    •    Structure – Hub-and-spoke vs. Centralized class blog Rhythm – Free-for-all vs. Checkpoint vs. Weekly vs. Two-pronged Role – First-readers vs. Respondents vs. Searchers (Sample, D‘Arcus)
    •  (Google)  Hub-and-spoke structure  Weekly rhythm  Benefits of individual blogs
    •  A supplement to traditional assignments NOT a replacement
    •  Student-centered centered vs. Instructor-  The Paradox of Prompts  Levels of formality?
    • Open-ended questions  Higher-level thinking categories   Interest  Relevance  Attitudes/Opinions  Analysis  Conceptual Connections Bloom‘s Taxonomy (Cuseo)
    •     ―One word to describe your reading, write about why you chose that word. Rewrite a passage from a different character‘s point of view. Difficult texts: find a passage that encompasses the central idea and paraphrase. Explain for an eighth-grader, write a letter, write for other audiences.‖ (Owens et. al)
    •  ―Explore style and voice in a way they can‘t (or feel they can‘t) in more formal academic papers.‖  ―Consider questions of accountability and audience.‖ (Sample)  Build a positive digital footprint.  Improve longer form argumentation and recognize that collaborative exercises can be relevant to that process.
    •  Role of the instructor?
    •  Teaching students how to comment  If you build it, will they come?  Involve participants from outside of class  Website analytics
    •           ―Bibliography.‖ Television Authorship. Media Studies 152. Pomona College. Online Cuseo, Joe. ―The One Minute Paper.‖ On Course Workshop. Online Galarza, Alex. ―Develop and Implement a Course Blog.‖ Inside Higher Ed. Online Garfield, Bob and Ta-Nehisi Coates. ―How to Create an Engaging Comments Section.‖ On the Media. Dec. 30, 2011. Online Ellison, Nicole and Yuehua Wu. "Blogging In The Classroom: A Preliminary Exploration Of Student Attitudes And Impact On Comprehension." Journal Of Educational Multimedia And Hypermedia. 17.1 (2008): 99-122. ERIC. Web. 5 Feb. 2013. Koumpilova, Mila. ―They're learning to write, and they've got readers.‖ St. Paul Pioneer Press. March 27, 2011. Online McClurken, Jeff and Mulie Meloni. ―‗How are you going to grade this?‘: Evaluating Classroom Blogs.‖ ProfHacker. The Chronicle of Higher Education. June 21, 2010. Online Owens, Trevor et. al. Towards a Better Blogging Assignment. THATCamp CHNM 2012. Online Sample, Mark. ―A Better Blogging Assignment.‖ Profhacker. The Chronicle of Higher Education. July 3, 2012. Online Sawmiller, Alison. "Classroom Blogging: What Is The Role In Science Learning?." Clearing House 83.2 (2010): 44. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 5 Feb. 2013.
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