Where to Begin?

A reflective journey with a technical edge….

Although blogging was not a new concept to Marymount, managing a WordPress blogging environment is.  Marymount officially introduce WordPress as an alternative platform for student engagement last August.  It was promoted as a strategy to engage students with digital media and encourage collaboration between students and teachers.  The first steps was to load WordPress onto a local server.  The results were enormously successful.  The Marymount WordPress environment was created and students could use their current log-on and password to access the new environment.  Faculty was altered to the new WordPress teaching tool, and with personalized instruction, more than 20 instructors included an assignment that utilized WordPress.  After one semester 802 blogs were created.

Since those initial days the number of blogs has nearly doubled and classes from science to business have crafted ways to use the WordPress tool.  Group projects have been the most successful use of the tool.  One major consideration that Marymount skipped over, is the maintenance and upkeep of the site.  Although WordPress is rather simple to install and use, it is an information system and it requires maintenance and updates.  Some technical skills are necessary to maintain the WordPress environment.

What’s the Challenge of Classroom Blogging?

Staying one step ahead of technology!

For instance, after I’d invested a fair amount of time in setting up this site with this lovely template, I discovered that it doesn’t do bullets or numbering.

Not only does the instructor have to understand widgets, tags, and privacy policies, but students must too.  Individuality is a wonderful thing, but opaque user names and untagged posts are time-suckers when you’re grading.

Why Do Faculty Assign Blogs?

In conversations with instructors, I’ve heard three main reasons.

Students get a little more engaged in the writing when they anticipate that peers–and perhaps random strangers–might be reading their work.
Students need to graduate with skills and experience in the online world.
Blogs fall into a convenient middle ground between formal and informal writing.