The Difference between Blogs and Discussions

Well, I just finished reading all the blogs of all of my students in Emerging Instructional Technologies. It took a few of hours because I hadn’t sat down to read them before and we had been writing them for 2 weeks. I had some catching up to do. From this point on, it shouldn’t be too bad because I will be able to keep up with you by just reviewing them every couple of days. I will just go to my Google Reader and then look at the one’s that sow as new.

I enjoyed reading what all of you said about your lives and what you have found/realized/discovered in this class. Some of you seem to really enjoy the opportunity to share and reflect while others seem to still be in the mode of “completing your duty.”

I am new at blogging so I have come to some realizations. These are just preliminary so I know that you will see others appear on this blog as time progresses:

1) Blogs are different than the typical “Discussion Assignment” that you students have done in the past. Typically, in our classes, we have required students to respond to a topic and then write a reply to “at least two other students.” These replies have needed to be more than just simple affirmation “I agree with you, Moe.”

Blogs need to be more than that. WebCT discussions are usually limited to the members of the class and they rarely introduce links to the rest of the world. What is said there is of great importance, but can be limited. Blogs, on the other hand, are typically open to the world. This means that others can read them and we can link to the rest of the world to enrich and support our thoughts. This is what we call the Blogosphere.

2) Blogs are more interesting if they are “responding to” or “including” information elsewhere in the blogosphere (especially your classmate blogs) and web. Having an active link (remember that you need to use the Link button to make it active) allows the reader to review the material in question and then learn what you have to say about it. It also encourages me, the reader, to be able to have ideas (because I can get to the original material) and respond. This is good because it builds the conversation.

3) You MUST read blogs to know how to write blogs. I have been learning about this as I have been reading more blogs and modeling my blogging around what other, more successful bloggers, have done.

Here is a list of blogs that you should ALL have in your Google Reader:

  • Dr. Z Reflects (this blog)
  • Every student’s blog in our class (listed in the right column in this blog)
  • 2 Cents Worth – David Warlick who is continually reflecting upon Web 2.0 tools in the classroom
  • Stager-to-Go – Provides a questioning look at Web 2.o tools in the classroom
  • At least two blogs on your selected theme for the semester. These will help you become better informed of the latest developments as well as allow you a venue for contributing to the discussion.

Well, these are a few of my ideas on blogs vs discussion groups. Please remember that this is not the end of the discourse.

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