The latest Campus Technology newsletter includes a useful article entitled, “Instructional Blogging On Campus: Identifying Best Practices.” The article reported on a case study at the University of Arizona.
Faculty have introduced blogging to: promote peer review, foster student-to-student, student-to-faculty, and faculty-to-student interaction; discuss course readings; promote discussion and public comment; address class concerns; extend learning beyond the classroom; and develop writing skills because it encourages students to reflect on what they compose.
… A professor who used instructional blogging in two different undergraduate courses recommends blogging as a way to extend learning beyond classroom meetings. From his experience with discussion forums, he believes that 90 percent of his students read forum posts but only 10 percent contribute to discussions in a meaningful way. He replaced forums with blogs and discovered that more students participated and that the quality of their contributions improved markedly. He attributes this to students taking an increased ownership of their ideas and that with their own blogs, students can not lurk as they can on forums. In terms of instructional applications, this professor prefers to use classroom time to address more complex concepts and found that blogs afford his students the opportunity to master the simpler concepts outside the classroom. By addressing a student’s needs through the blog before class meeting, blogging supported a “just-in-time” instructional model.
Interesting! In my usage with discussion boards I have had close to 100 percent posting, and from 33-50% posting substantively. I wonder how well blogs work for discussions between multiple students, as opposed to dialogs between student and instructor. I would think it would be tough for each student in a class of 30-50-100? to follow the blogs of each of their classmates.