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How can I use blogs on OpenLearning?


Any user's blog is created by default when they register an account with OpenLearning. It is located on the user's profile page. The URL is typically www.openlearning.com/u/username/blog

 

 The set-up is very simple:

  • You can edit the description of the blog.
  • You can make a new post.
  • There is also a Subscribe button for your readers to click to subscribe. When there is a new post, they will be notified.


Privacy settings

OpenLearning blogs have two levels of privacy. It can be available to anyone who is logged in on OpenLearning, or learners who are logged in and enrolled in the same course as the blog owner.

If you'd like your blog to be available to everyone on OpenLearning, make sure to set your profile to "Anybody" or "Anybody on OpenLearning" under Account settings.

Related:

Who can see my profile?

Further on, blog entries can be posted as private or associated with a course. 

 

Subscription

Users can subscribe to each others' blogs. This means that when a new post is published, the subscribers are notified via a platform notification and an email.

Readers can comment on your blog posts.

 

  

Tagging

Blog posts can also be tagged. (currently under development)
 

Chances are if you use the Internet, you must have read a blog post at one point or another. The first blog started in 1994, at the time called a personal homepage, then in 1997 came the term weblog, and shortened to blog in 1999. That was also the year when the platform which would later become Blogger was created. Blogs started going mainstream in the early 2000s, including the birth of a few major blogging platforms, including WordPress. 

Blogs have also been used in educational contexts since the early 2000s and have been established as an effective learning tool, supported by Vygotsky's sociocultural theory of cognitive development (1978). The major theme in Vygotsky's theory is the important role of social interaction in the development of cognition.

Blogs can be used as a learning tool in different disciplines. A blog provides a space where learners can reflect and develop knowledge of themselves and their learning progress as well as interact with others. With blogs, learners have other readers besides their course administrators to read what they write and provide comments and feedback. This helps steer away from a teacher-centred learning environment and move towards a learner/community-centred learning environment. 

Through the process of reflecting and writing blog posts, learners can: 

  • Document and keep track of their learning journey
  • Reflect on course activities and content
  • Engaging in higher-order thinking and deep learning 
  • Clarify for themselves difficult and confusing concepts
  • Gain confidence in their knowledge and skills
  • Develop their own voice in the subject 
  • Practice and improve their writing skills
     

A well-written blog post on a topic of interest can be an effective discussion starter. Blogging provides opportunities for learners to:

  • Share their thoughts and opinions with peers
  • Interact, discuss, collaborate and debate with peers
  • Learn from peers
  • Receive feedback from peers
  • Develop social bond and learning community
  • Improve learners' verbal literacy and ability to communicate
     

Course Administrators can use a blog to communicate course news, events and updates or to highlight and feature work from the learning community. 

Learners can use blogging in multiple disciplines. Examples of blog activities include:  

  • Reflecting at the end of a chapter/module
  • Reflecting at the end of a course activity or assignment, e.g. a science experiment
  • Writing about what they find interesting in a chapter
  • Writing about  what they find challenging in a chapter
  • Continuing another learner's blog post
  • Writing about discussions with others
     

Below are some examples of strategies for using blogs effectively in education. The important thing is to select strategies that work best for your context. 

  • Provide clear goals, expectations, guidelines (e.g. quality, languages)
  • Communicate the why of blogging
  • Suggest relevant and interesting topics for blog posts
  • Design specific blogging exercises
  • Encourage learners to browse and comment on others' blog posts
  • Assign a few course participants to monitor the course's blogroll each week and report back anything they find interesting
  • Course Administrator to summarise or highlight interesting and relevant things from learners' course blogs and incorporate those into the instructor/general course blog
     

Currently, the in-course blog feature in OL is suitable for:

  • In-course blogging activities (Links to posts shared with other learners in the course via Post widgets) 
    In these activities, students share and comment on others' thoughts. The activities can be guided or free-form depending on their contexts and goals. Examples include:
    • End-of-chapter/module reflection
    • End-of-a-learning-activity reflection, e.g. reflection after a science experiment, a practical experience
    • Sharing a curated set of relevant links and resources
  • Students to maintain a learning journal to document their thoughts, reflection and progress. 

Reference

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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