Blogs in Virtual Classrooms

Blogs have been a tool for self-publishing to the Internet since the late 1990’s. The model is simple: An individual creates a blog on the platform; they name it, configure it, and begin posting to it. The text, images, video, audio and other content that comprise their blog are displayed in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest) or they can be displayed in categories (assuming the blogger uses them) or with any other configured filter (most popular, recent comments, etc.) logs become more interesting if the blogger enables commenting. 

When used in courses, the blogging tool in an LMS tends to be organized around one of two different types of interactions:

  1. Blogging can be used in the same way discussion boards are used (bloggers post a reaction to an artifact, then others comments). When used in this way, instructors often find the nature of the interaction can change; rather than discussion diverging from the original focus, comments on blogs tend to focus on the original post, and commenting on comments is unusual when using blogs in courses.
  2. Blogging can be used multiple times over the duration of a course. When used in this way, the blog represents the student’s work and reflections. Typically, blogs used in this manner are written by the student as a record of their increasingly sophisticated understanding.

No matter which of these are used, I have found the comments on blogs tend to be more detailed than replies to discussion posts. Further, the focus of the comments tends to be grounded in the original post to a greater degree than replies to discussion threads.