In the Seguin’s COMPUTER Concepts, Third Edition courseware, Blog This! activities offer a chance for students to write about their experience or opinions on a topic. Depending on what you would prefer, students can submit URLs to their blogs or submit blog text using the essay activities in Cirrus. Alternatively, you can set up the Discussion tool (or something similar) in your school’s LMS. This article helps instructors decide which option works best for their course.
Using the Essay Activity to Submit Blog URLs
This option requires that students set up their own blog using a host such as WordPress, Blogger, or Weebly. For each Blog This! activity, students will respond to the prompt by creating a new post on their blog. Then, they can copy and paste the URL of the blog post into the essay activity using these instructions.
One of the benefits of this approach is that students will gain practical, real-world experience with online blog platforms and content management systems. Another benefit is that students can review and respond to each other’s posts. The drawback is that you will have to visit the blog URL in order to view the student’s response; the student’s full response will not appear in the Student Attempts page.
If using this option, take some time to explain or demonstrate how you want each student to set up his or her blog. You may also need to show students how to create a blog post and reply to a blog post that someone else has created. Direct students to pages 130 to 133 (Chapter 6, Topic 6.3
4) for information on blogging before assigning the first blog in your course.
Tips for Having Students Set Up Their Own Blogs
- Have students create a title and address for their blog that will be standardized for the course so each person in the class will know the address for one another’s blogs. For example, if you are using Blogger from Google, have students create a blog with an address such as studentname.blogspot.com or studentname-coursename.blogspot.com.
- Note that blogger.com and other blog hosting services prevent a large number of similarly named addresses from being created at the same time, so you may have to provide two or three address alternatives if you are incorporating the course name within the blog address.
- Go over your standards and expectations for blog posts. For example, do you have a minimum word count for the initial posting? Make sure students know that spelling, grammar, writing style, and tone will count if you plan on grading professionalism.
Using the Essay Activity to Submit Blog Text
If having students set up their own blog on WordPress, Blogger, or Weebly is beyond the scope of the course, or if you would like to opt for simplicity, students can simply write their response to the prompt directly in the essay activity using these instructions. The benefit of this approach is that you don’t have to visit an outside site in order to view the student’s response; the student’s full response will appear in the Student Attempts page. The drawback to this approach is that students cannot review or respond to each other’s posts, and they do not gain practical, real-world experience with online blog platforms and content management systems.
Using the Discussion Tool in your School’s LMS
You may prefer to use the discussion tool in your school’s learning management system in place of blogs. Generally, these tools provide good statistics about each student on the number of posts and may be of more benefit to you than blogs if it is not important to you that students learn blogging skills. Set up the discussion forum topics within Canvas or your school’s particular LMS in advance and provide students with clear instructions to use the discussion board instead of creating a blog.
The benefit of this approach is that students can review and respond to each other’s posts, and everything is centrally located within the LMS. The drawback to this approach is that you will have to set up the discussion tool yourself (contact your institution’s IT center if you need assistance), and students will not gain practical, real-world experience with online blog platforms and content management systems.