Blogging over the course of a semester is a powerful learning opportunity for students. In addition to valuable writing skills, blogging gives the students a public voice they don’t have when writing private reflections. Further, blogging contributes to a students digital fluency via the introduction of multimedia content into blog posts. Recently, University of Richmond professor’s Amy Treonis and Elizabeth Ransom introduced blogging assignments into their SSIR, Think Global, Eat Local and professor Fran Smith incorporated individual blogs into her Curriculum Development course.
While both class used WordPress for blogging assignments, the two class differed in how the blogging assignments were executed.
The Think Global, Eat Local class travelled to Belize to gain a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities the people of Belize face in their foods choices. Students were told that they would be responsible for generating a reflection blog post based on their experience after the trip. Andrew Bell of the CTLT helped the students create a home for their reflections in the form of a WordPress blog: . This web presence was simple in form: an about page and blog page containing the student’s reflection posts. Each student’s blog post stood in constrast to their peers blog posts and at the end of the semester, the students and professors had a digital portfolio of all the students reflections in one place.
The Curriculum Development class focused on tools that enhance the learning process in and out of the classroom. Their blogging assignment was different from the Think Global, Eat Local class. Students were responsible for creating their own blog. This involved them having to make design desicisions like choosing themes and color choices that would best achieve their educational goals. This exercise developed students digital fluency, a important skill in today’s increasingly digital world. At the end of the semester students were evalutated for the quality of their content within their blogs as well as how effective the design choices were.
Both WordPress blogging assignments offer examples of how blogging can contribute to a student’s learning experience. The resulting product can be different: a collective class portfolio or individual expressions but the educational experience is similar. Developing communication skills through an online portal.
Need some student and faculty quotes here.