What's a Blog?
Perhaps you already are familiar with online journals, diaries, and newsletters known as Weblogs or blogs. You may find that this simple, free way to publish online is appealing for personal as well as academic and professional writing. At the same time, you will be communicating in an increasingly popular format.
Originally, weblogs were publications of annotated lists with active links to websites people thought would interest other people. Online journals and diaries used similar technologies but with a different purpose, to publish personal reflections. Both were easier to publish online than Websites and required no knowledge of code or file transfer protocols.
Journalists were among the first writers to reach a wide audience, using Weblogs to publish work that did not fit the length or other restrictions of their publications, for example, an article or photograph that was too long or complex for the available space in a print publication or for the available time in a broadcast or that presented a viewpoint not necessarily endorsed by their employer publishers. Salam Pax, the Bagdhad Blogger, gained the attention of the world beginning in 2001. The Online Journalism Review features its own blogs and others. During the 2004 elections, The Blogging of the President from Minnesota Public Radio offered campaign news and links. And political blogs were important during the 2004 elections, when each of the major presidential candidates had an online publication they called a blog.
Some businesses are using Weblogs for departmental or corporate newsletters. Many organizations have a Website for their customers, an Intranet for employees, and a Weblog newsletter instead of or in addition to a print newsletter.
Personal blogs come and go. A Web search for blogs with any area of interest should turn up hundreds or thousands, and most include links to other blogs. Blogs have provided a way for friends and families to stay in touch.
Educational blogs include newsletters or journals published by teachers and students to post updated information from various sources as well as their reflections on the news and class topics. Academic institutions, departments, and disciplinary organizations also are publishing blogs. Blogs can be interactive, allowing students to read and respond to each other between and across classes, campuses, and countries. Blogs can be bulletin boards, a place to post announcements and links to online sources relevant to class. Some professors use sophisticated blog software as learning systems/course management systems.
Some Definitions (emphasis added)
"Blogs represent the power of regular people to use the Internet for publishing. The ethos of blogging is collaborative and values the sharing of ideas; bloggers are not dependent on publishers to get their words out."
Gurak, Laura J., Smiljana Antonijevic, Laurie Johnson, Clancy Ratliff, and Jessica Reyman, eds. “About the Collection…” Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs . Accessed May 26, 2005.
"A blog, therefore, is and has always been more than the online equivalent of a personal journal. Though consisting of regular (and often dated) updates, the blog adds to the form of the diary by incorporating the best features of hypertext: the capacity to link to new and useful resources. But a blog is also characterized by its reflection of a personal style, and this style may be reflected in either the writing or the selection of links passed along to readers. Blogs are, in their purest form, the core of what has come to be called personal publishing."
Downes, Stephen. "Educational Blogging," Educause Review 39.5 (September/October 2004): 14-26. Accessed February 20, 2005.
"A weblog, or blog, is a frequently updated website consisting of dated entries arranged in reverse chronological order so the most recent post appears first (see temporal ordering). Typically, weblogs are published by individuals and their style is personal and informal. Weblogs first appeared in the mid-1990s, becoming popular as simple and free publishing tools became available towards the turn of the century. Since anybody with a net connection can publish their own weblog, there is great variety in the quality, content, and ambition of weblogs, and a weblog may have anywhere from a handful to tens of thousands of daily readers."
Walker, Jill. “final version of weblog definition.” jill/txt. June 28, 2003. Accessed May 26, 2005. Developed for Walker, Jill. “Weblog.” Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory . Eds. David Herman, Manfred Jahn and Marie-Laure Ryan. London and New York: Routledge, 2005. 45.
Educational Blogs and Resources
Some educational Weblogs feature interactive communication, used like discussion boards or email lists for students to write, read, and respond. Some Weblogs are used like course management systems, hosting syllabus, handouts, announcements, and interactive communication. Some professors and students use Weblogs as research journals to record facts and reflections related to works in progress that they will eventually write about more formally in their academic papers, scholarly books, or scholarly or professional journal articles.
- Into the Blogosphere is an edited collection of blogs, research on blogs, and commentary on blogs that "
explores discursive, visual, social, and other communicative features of weblogs."
- A chart of uses of Educational Blogs comes from Scott Leslie's blog, EdTechPost.
- Bogging Across the Curriculum is a project by Pattie Belle Hastings at Quinniapac University.
- See Professors Who Blog and Scholars Who Blog for links to more educational Weblogs.
- See Edublog Awards for educational blogs.
- Sven Latham's Blogwise has been cataloging and categorizing blogs since 2002.
- Here are some Websites from several academic disciplines. Many examples come from my own experiences at Tidewater Community College and at Clemson University with an emphasis on conversations across classes, campuses, and disciplines.
If you have some to recommend, in particular, weblogs for class discussions, please email me dreiss [@] wordsworth2 [.] net.
- Is That Legal by
Eric Muller, UNC Law School, generates many comments.
- Timothy Quigley, Art and Philosophy, The New School Asymptote
- Daniel Denzer, Economist, U of Chicago http://www.danieldrezner.com/blog/
- Brad DeLong, Political Science, UCalifornia Berkeley http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/
- Brian Weatherson, Philosophy, Cornell http://tar.weatherson.net/
- Scott Moore, Business, UMichigan http://cf.samoore.com/BA100w06/Home
- PhD student Paul Harrison keeps a blog of research on patchwork texture and software development along with personal and professional reflections.
- For an American literature survey course at Clemson University, Kara Baldwin and I asked our separate classes to discuss together the blues poetry of Langston Hughes at the Hughes Blues Blog.
- Pam Mack's History of American Technology blog at Clemson University asks students to develop their own blogs to respond to class readings and topics.
- Volokh Conspiracy and Crooked Timber are popular group blogs with collective authorship.
- With 1984 + 20 Blog, students in several disciplines at Tidewater Community College, Southeastern Virginia, communicated across four campuses and beyond by inviting all interested readers to respond to topics posted by three professors related to Orwell's novel and the 2004 elections. Some students started and linked their own blogs.
- At Discussions Between English 485 and AP English, students in Nancy Swanson's Advanced Placement English class at Daniel High and Art Young's Composition for Teachers at Clemson University discussed Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried.
- Clemson University students taking sophomore surveys of American literature respond to Langston Hughes poetry and each other at the Hughes Blues Blog.
- Students in the United States and Sweden discuss poetry at Cross-Cultural Collaborations.
|Thanks to the Tidewater Community College Curriculum and Professional Development Fund for funding my initial research into Weblogs for instruction. Thanks to TCC students Zack W., Jenn S., and Blair D. for usability testing and feedback. A special thanks to Professors Kara Baldwin, Teddi Fishman, Pam Mack, and Art Young of Clemson University, Professor Karl Fornes of University of South Carolina-Aiken, and to many colleagues at Computers & Writing, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and the TechRhet discussion list for suggestions and support.
Weblog Guidelines for Students | Active Learning Online
for educational purposes only
developed and copyright ©2003 by D. Reiss
modified and copyright ©April 24, 2007 by D. Reiss