“The word blog is irrelevant, what’s important is that it is now common, and will soon be expected, that every intelligent person (and quite a few unintelligent ones) will have a media platform where they share what they care about with the world.”
- Seth Godin
Of the thousands of applications, my experience has shown that blogging is the best social media tool that professors can integrate into their courses. A blog gives the professor an opportunity to post his/her own thoughts, or an article from someone else, and allow students to read it and comment on it outside of class. While some of this functionality exists in many course management tools, a blog hosted externally from the school generally has better tools to integrate text, pictures, and video into a single message. Students can read the content outside of class, comment on it, and comment on the comments of other students.
You can easily create and manage a blog with two of the most popular sites, Blogger (www.blogger.com) or WordPress (www.wordpress.com). Bother are free and relatively easy to use, but WordPress offers a broader suite of applications.
Most syllabi have a participation component as part of the final grade. Many students – particularly those whose native language is not being used in class or whose culture discourages engaging with professors – are reluctant to raise their hands. A blog is one way to increase their level of participation because students can collect and process their thoughts before sharing them (something many native-speaking students might also benefit from).
Course example: You have a textbook and cases in your syllabus, but try posting a current article from the business press and having your students comment on it and the other students’ comments. The students can also post links to other related articles that may have a different perspective. Blogs are a useful way to promote discussion and keep the subject matter fresh. E-mailing students the article doesn’t allow for an interactive response. And photocopying the article and handing it out in class doesn’t increase the participation. Creating a blog takes less than five minutes and posting an article to it takes less than that.
An example for my class on international business is:
I also create one for each city or country I take students to visit and study:
About the author: Allen H. Kupetz is the executive-in-residence at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please consider attending ASTD 2012 where you can hear Allen Kupetz at his session, "Technology Trends Impacting Higher Education", which is part of the Higher Education Session Track.