What is a blog?
A blog is like an online diary where you write your reflections on life, work, hobbies, relationships, basically whatever you are interested in. A blog should be updated regularly with new posts and it’s also important to attract readers by linking to your blog as much as possible.
Why should teachers blog?
Blogging is a reflective process. You can write reflections on your teaching and subject area, comment on interesting news, research and articles in your field and your blog can also become a living CV where colleagues, students and potential employers can get a good impression of your professional ability. You can also use your blog to test new ideas and to write about your research. A good blog can lead to new opportunities, invitations to join projects, invitations to speak at conferences and expanding your professional network in general.
Blogging in ONL
In this course we encourage all participants to write reflections on each course topic in their own blogs (please find information about course requirements at How to participate). Your blog posts should fulfill the following criteria:
- A reflective post of at least 400 words with thoughts on the relevant topic
- Include references to course literature and other relevant sources
You can also post audio or video reflections on your blog. Just record a video or audio file and upload or link it to your blog. These posts should also be reflective, referring to the course topic and relevant sources.
A large part of the course focuses on group work but the blogs allow you to present your own thoughts. You are also encouraged to read and comment on your colleagues’ blog posts as much as possible. Hopefully you will enjoy using your blog to reflect on your learning and might consider continuing to write there after the course is over.
How do I start a blog?
The two most common tools for blogging are WordPress, Blogger and Weebly. WordPress is probably the most common blogging tool and has an enormous range of features so you can produce a very attractive blog if you are prepared to spend time on it. Over 30% of all internet sites are run with WordPress. It is open source and for free. Blogger is owned by Google and if you have a Google account (g-mail) you automatically have access to Blogger. Both offer nice easy templates so you can create a blog and publish your first post in less than half an hour. We highly recommend you using WordPress though, as it will make things easier during the course if you want to connect your blog to the ONL course homepage. The free version of WordPress can be a bit tricky to find. Here you can find some help. In the last step watch for the top of the screen, not the big blocks of plans (see picture below).
Remember that once you have started a blog it is impossible to find it in Google until people start visiting it, so make sure you tell as many people as possible the address to your blog and connect it to opennetworkedlearning.se.
Below you can also find some examples of educational blogs
- @czernie – Laura Czerniewicz
- The ed techie – Martin Weller
- Reflecting allowed – Maha Bali
- Tony Bates
- The corridor of uncertainty – Alastair Creelman
Privacy and blogging
One of the main reasons to blog is to get outside the “walls” of a Learning Management System or Virtual Learning Environment and to share participants’ work publicly with a broader audience. This helps provide an audience for work which can make it more relevant and meaningful, since it can potentially have a “real world” audience.
That being said, there are times when privacy is needed. WordPress can accommodate that. Read more about it here. You can always change this setting at a later stage. If you make your blog private, you will not be able to connect your blog. Make also sure that your Facilitator has access to your blog posts.