Blogging is one of the interaction options which can bring to life the open content resources of the BlendKit Course. Whether you are participating in a cohort of others who are using the BlendKit course materials or whether you are using these materials for self-study, blogging provides opportunities for you to make your thinking about blended learning evident and to connect with others who are doing so.
Setting Up Your Own Blog
If you already have a blog, you do not need to create another one. However, if you have never set-up a blog before, it is far simpler to get started than you might realize. For instance, there are numerous free blog hosting services each with a straightforward, free registration process and help documentation. Some of these are: Blogger.com, Edublogs.org, Posterous.com, WordPress.com, and Xanga.com You may wish to review several of these and choose a platform that seems most intuitive to you.
What Should I Blog About?
It is common for first-time bloggers to hesitate in starting because they either feel that they have nothing of substance to share in a public forum or because they feel that each posting must be of peer-reviewed journal quality. However, if you give yourself permission to make your thinking visible on your blog in the spirit of an imperfect draft, you may realize some of the benefits encountered by blogging advocates such as Seth Godin and Tom Peters [YouTube video; 1:37].
For the purpose of engaging with the BlendKit course materials, you are free to blog in any fashion you wish. However, resources are provided in the BlendKit materials to support your blogging in one or more of the following ways as you contemplate developing a blended learning course.
Each BlendKit topic has an associated focal question. You may find these listed on the Schedule and on each of the Learning Activities pages. These focal questions are purposefully broad, but they may be sufficient to prompt your thinking/blogging for a given week.
You may wish to engage with the suggested BlendKit readings and then record your reactions to the readings on your blog. For instance, you might use a particularly evocative quote from the readings as a jumping off point, or you might choose to note areas in which you agree or disagree with the authors of the reading selection as the basis for some elaborating thoughts. While the readings provide access to some of the relevant background literature related to each of the BlendKit topics, you might also consider how the readings inform your conceptualization of your blended learning course. Each chapter in the BlendKit Reader also contains a few “thought questions.” You might choose to blog your response to one or more of those.
Activity Reflections/Peer Feedback
Support is provided in the BlendKit materials for performing a number of do-it-yourself tasks related to building a blended learning course. If you undertake any of these tasks, you might wish to upload or link from your blog to the products you create as the basis for your own reflection or in order to solicit feedback from others. Educational consultant Peter Pappas has provided a taxonomy for reflection on such performance tasks. The guiding questions in his taxonomy may be helpful to you as you work through the steps of developing your blended learning course and share your thoughts with others.
Commenting on the Blog Postings of Others
In addition to making evident your own thinking, a key aspect of blogging is reading and responding to the blog posts of others. As with face-to-face discussion groups, this iterative interaction can be a powerful source of motivation, insight, and accountability. Most blog platforms provide the facility to make comments at the end of each posting. While anonymity is supported in this comment functionality, using some sort of consistent personal identifier in your comments will foster more meaningful interactions with others engaged with the BlendKit materials. If you are new to blog commenting, you might find it useful to review the blog commenting tips provided by popular blogger and writing maven, Grammar Girl.
How Do I Find Blog Postings of Others? (And How Do Others Find My Blog Postings?)
You may submit your blog URL on the Google Doc embedded in this page below (also available directly at http://bit.ly/blendkit2012_bloggers), and there you will find the blogs of others who are blogging during their work with the BlendKit course materials. You may also choose to share a link to specific blog postings via Twitter using the BlendKit2012 hashtag or, perhaps more conveniently, via the BlendKit2012 HootCourse account. You may wish to establish a “buddy system” of reciprocal commenting with one or two others. Note: If you include “BlendKit” someplace in your blog posting (i.e., title, body, tags, etc.), the individual postings should eventually show up in the BlendKit RSS feed as well. Subscribe in a reader