You can use blog writing assignments as another medium for reflective learning. With this type of assignment, students are expected to display their research, analytical, and communication skills through a series of commentaries meant for public consumption and comment.
Only enrolled users can view blogs in your course. Similar to journals, you can use blogs for a graded assignment or gather opinions and information without assigning a grade. However, remember that journals are intended to be a private form of communication.
There are two main ways you can choose to allow students to participate in blogs: You can create a course blog and determine the topic you want addressed. All course members can add blog entries about that one topic and comment on blog entries.
Or there are Individual Blogs. Each person can add entries only to their own blog, based on an assigned topic or maybe a topic of their choosing. And all other course members can view and add comments to it. Blogs consist of two elements:
Blog entries which include Text, images, links, multimedia, mashups, and attachments added by course members open for comments.
And Comments; which are remarks or responses to blog entries made by other course members, including the instructor.
A blog is different from a discussion board because even though it allows for responses via commenting, a blog is not really intended for discussion. To put it differently, a blog would be graded based on individual entries, and a discussion board would be graded based on a main post as well as responses to others.
If there is a blog assignment in your course, the blog will already be set up for you. We’ll look at how a blog is created as a means of understanding how to customize a blog’s settings:
Start by going to the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and click Blogs. On the Blogs listing page, all of the blog topics are listed. To edit a blog access the contextual menu and select Edit. To create a new blog click Create Blog on the action bar.
On the Create Blog page, type a name and optional instructions and make the blog available.
Select the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Display restrictions do not affect the blog availability, only when it appears. You can leave these unchecked if you want the blog to always be available.
In the Blog Participation section, decide if the blog is for individuals or the course. You may also allow some anonymous posting by clicking here.
In the Blog Settings section, select Monthly or Weekly Index Entries. Weekly indexing is usually best for Brandman’s 8 week courses. Optionally, select these check boxes to allow users to edit and delete entries, or delete comments.
In the Grade Settings section, select No grading or the Grade option and type the number of Points possible. Points possible will apply to one or more entries made by a user to the blog topic. Optionally, select the check box for Show participants in “needs grading” status and from the drop-down list, select the number of entries required. Applying this setting will show the needs grading icon in the Grade Center and place the entries in the queue on the Needs Grading page after the specified number of entries are made.
Optionally, add a rubric. To learn more, see our video on Rubrics later in this series. When you’re done click Submit.
To access a blog and begin interacting with your students, click the title of the blog.
On the action bar, click Create Blog Entry, add your thoughts, media and other content, then click post entry when your done.
Below the action bar, the Blog Instructions are expanded by default. You can minimize them by clicking here.
In the sidebar, you can expand the Blog Details section to display information about the current selection, including the author and number of entries and comments. The blog details come in very handy when grading a student’s blog activity. Click the right-pointing arrow to collapse the sidebar for more viewing room for entries. Click the four arrows to view the blog entries and sidebar in full screen.
For All Course Members, click the down-pointing arrow to view a list and select a member. The selected member’s entries appear in the content frame. Optionally, click Show members without entries to view or grade those who have not created a blog post yet.
The Index section displays the titles of the entries created during the selected time period. Click the minus sign to collapse the title list.
Use the left- and right-pointing arrows to navigate to the previous or next student. For graded blogs, icons designate the status of a user’s activity. The needs grading icon—the exclamation mark—indicates that a user has met the minimum activity for grading you set for the blog. The in progress icon appears when a user has some activity, but has not yet met the minimum number required to trigger needs grading status.
In the grading sidebar, provide a grade and feedback for a student and click submit to post the grade to the Grade Center and My Grades.