Cameron Hoffman is Information Literacy Librarian at Concordia University. Providing instruction on how to find information and use library resources also requires a clear understanding of the latest tools and how best to use them ethically and more effectively for university teaching and research. Find out how to use blogs to achieve engaging teaching that supports new forms of course management, student reflection and peer collaboration.
"A frequently updated web site consisting of personal observations, excerpts from other sources, etc., typically run by a single person, and usually with hyperlinks to other sites; an online journal or diary. "
A web page that acts as a log; it is updated frequently and easily. Users (bloggers) can post entries easily to their blog using a browser, specialist blog software, via their mobile phone, or even by email.
Because blogs, by their nature, are updated frequently, you need a fancy way to keep up to date with with the ones you want to read; many allow you to subscribe to a feed. Once subscribed, you can quickly see if there are any new blog entries - either through a browser that supports RSS or via a newsreader.
There are lots out there, but how to find them? Blogs cross- and self-reference endlessly, so once you find one that is interesting, I suggest you follow the breadcrumbs...
Try visiting a few examples:
If you are looking for a blog on a particular topic or theme you might also try looking at indexes such as blog search engine.
There are lots of free services out there that will enable you to create a blog. Blogger is an example. Simply create an account, choose a template and you can start up. If you get serious about using it in your teaching you should also look at software that will allow you to host the blogs (and manage student accounts) on university servers. One such system is Drupal.
Blogging is new territory for most academics, and research of the use of blogs in teaching is scarce. However, many of the elements required in maintaining a blog are the very things that we encourage students to do: keeping a reflective journal, critically assessing external sources, researching a topic, and so on.
Therefore a lot of the examples of the use of blogs in teaching we currently see involve some sort of assessment of student blogs.
Although many blogs are personal and individual, some are developed collaboratively (Blogger allows you to create group blogs), with many people able to post to them. So a blog could be a co-creative space for a group of students and their teacher. The teacher can post to the blog as they would to a course website (resources, outlines, assignments...) and students can be tasked with responding to the teacher's resources and activities, keeping a reflective learning journal, and evaluating the work of their peers.
TIP: all these terms and others can be found in wikipedia