In the October 2008 online version of Campus Technology, there was an article about common mistakes professors make in using blogs with students. My first reaction was, “Well, duh!” But then, I retracted my initial thought.
If a professor has experience with blogging, this article would not be very beneficial. However, if he does not have any personal experience with blogging, this would be a good article for him to read. I especially support what the author said about learning outcomes — which boils down to the fact that the professor needs to have a clear idea what the student learning outcomes are and how blogging ties into the outcomes.
I wholeheartedly support the idea of having a grading rubric if a blog is to be graded. Otherwise, how would a student know what was expected? Or how would she be able to determine if her blogging was what the professor expected?
The author briefly discusses the need for adequate time for students to complete their blogging post. She suggested that the tool be left open till the end of the course. I think there needs to be parameters around this issue of time.
If students are graded on their blogging and there is not some sort of a deadline, students might wait until the very last moment of the semester to post on their blog. Doing assignments at the last moment possible is quite typical. How is a student supposed to grow and learn and improve their constructive thinking if they wait until just before the final was given to write something. Those posts would not be well thought out nor would the be well crafted.
I would suggest that deadlines be given throughout the semester for the posts. This will ensure students will respond in a timely fashion (instead of waiting until the last of the semester). Hopefully quality of posts will be better. Hopefully posts will be pertinent to in-class discussions. And (hopefully) the professor won’t be inundated with grading all the posts at the end of the semester when there are term papers and finals to grade.