Pros & Cons of Using Blogging in the Classroomby Jessica Kolifrath
Blogging is a way of creating your own online journal to share your views with others. Many college and high school classrooms integrate blogs to engage students and add a level of Internet interaction between classmates. Before adding a blogging assignment to your class syllabus, consider the pros and cons of using this type of platform.
Encouraging Reading and Writing
Blogging in the classroom can engage reluctant readers and writers, according to McGraw-Hill's Teaching Today website. Students who spend more time on Myspace then they do reading novels may spend more time reading assignments and writing about them in a blog format. While most college students do not need extra encouragement, struggling middle- and high-school students may benefit from class-focused blogging. If your students are still learning to spell, try disabling automatic spell checking software to encourage them to check their own spelling.
Difficult to Grade
While standards of grading have existed for decades for term papers, pop quizzes and other assignments, teachers must create their own rubric for grading blog work. The Chronicle of Higher Education contends that grading choices range from grading just the top posts as chosen by the student, or grading every post individually. Teachers may find that their grading rubric isn't working halfway through a semester, requiring either a re-calibration or dropping the blogging project altogether. Follow the examples of other teachers in similar class environments when developing a new grading rubric to save time.
Engaging Student Discussion
Students who are too quiet or shy to speak during class discussions may open up in the comments section of a class blog. Teachers using blogs in the classroom report large entries for writing assignments that are of a higher quality than term papers that are worth more of the overall grade, according to the Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Technology Advanced Collaborative. Giving each student their own blog allows them to write freely and openly without fear of embarrassment during a face-to-face class discussion.
Setting up, maintaining and grading blogs takes a lot of extra time. To add a blog project to your class without overwhelming your teaching schedule, try dropping other homework or writing projects from the syllabus. Many of the regular graded assignments in an English class can be written and submitted through blogging. Also, try setting up a single blog that students have the ability to post to instead of numerous personal blogs.
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