Web Log (Blog) Tutorial and Assignment

What is a blog?

What does a blog look like?

Why blog?

Goals of the assignment


What is a blog?

Jo Ann Oravec provides a nice description of weblogs:

"Weblogs provide a format for critiques of other Web materials along with various personal touches. They are structured like journals, with their segments identified by time and date. . . . The weblog format allows developers (often known as "bloggers") to work either alone or in teams. It supports a wide range of personal expression and interaction as individuals access and comment on one another's weblogs.. . . Along with critiques of various articles and web sites, weblog development can also incorporate "day-in-the-life" narratives and other forms of personal information." (emphasis added)

For more information, take a look at my DEEP POSTER ON WEBLOGS

What does a blog look like?

Blogs take a variety of forms depending on who is blogging and why. Here are a few examples:

Simple: http://www.csus.edu/indiv/s/stonerm/ (click An Innocent (Professor) Abroad)

Complex: http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/lessig/blog/(click to go to Larry Lessig’s blog)

More complex: http://doc.weblogs.com/ (click to go to Doc Searle’s blog)

Given these examples, note that that blogs consist primarily of plain text and relevant links although
pictures seem to be increasingly used as the software makes embedding them easier.
To take a look at a wide variety of blogs, some of which are interesting and valuable, some of which are trash, go to http://www.salon.com/blogs/ (see left frame, and click "recently updated blogs") and explore.
Why blog?

There are numerous reasons to create a blog:

To see a short video extolling the value of blogs as educational tools, click here.  [This video stream lasts about 17 minutes.  It is also pitched mostly to k-12 teachers, but the topics and information are all relevant to our concerns.]

The goals of the assignment are: 


1) Create a blog with a specific focus: some dimension of communication; a political or ideological view; a specific professional interest; etc. Be sure to articulate the focus of the blog precisely as you create it.  [See my goal statements on  my blogs as an examples] 

  • Go to http://blogger.com/  and follow the directions to create your blog. 
  • Once completed, visit www.haloscan.com to install a comment/trackback capability on your blog.  This is essential for inviting dialogue with your readers.

2) Once you have created your blog and installed the comment capability, post the name, URL and link to WebCT so the class knows about it.  Send me a notice by email.

3)  You must post a minimum of  once a week but to receive credit, your blog must show at least 13 entries with no more than three in any week.  These conditions are absolute--no credit for less than 13; no credit if any week has more than three in a week. (This is to discourage cramming in a bunch of stuff to complete the assignment "on a technicality.")

4) Each entry must include commentary and live links to one or more relevant sites. (Dead links are not allowed!)

5) Each entry must cite sources of ideas clearly.

6) Your final entry (13 or >13) will:  provide a summary and notice that the blog is ending
     a summary and stated plan for future blogging (if you intend to continue)

Work Cited
Oravec, Jo Ann. “Bookmarking the world: weblog applications in education.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy
           45 (April 2002): 616-621.