An online instructor has many “friends” or tools to help facilitate communication, assessment, collaboration and learning in their online course. In many instances a faculty will chose one tool over the other for obvious reasons. A course blog can cover a number of bases and it is a medium that many of your students will already be familiar for helping to digest information. This blog post (<– see what I did there) will cover just a few ways that a course blog can benefit you and your students.
A Blog Can Keep Your Students Informed and Engaged
It is already a best practice for you to communicate regularly with your students. A blog can help facilitate that practice by helping you to post weekly (or more depending upon your need). Ensure your students have a expectation of having to check the blog regularly and can expect (from you) a post each week.
Part of what you are trying to do here is remind your students of upcoming assignments, readings, or research as well as giving them waypoints or signposts where they should be paying attention.
Use the Blog for Feedback
One of the best ways to utilize your course blog is to make it a feedback mechanism. Letting your students know that you are reading their assignment submissions, discussions and other assessments assures them that you are taking an active part on their learning journey.
For example, use the blog post to sum up student discussion posts or submitted papers for the week giving kudos (by name) to students who are really bringing it home and challenges where the class maybe coming up a little short. You can turn the feedback around and have them comment on a blog post to collect feedback.
The Course Blog Makes Finding Information Easy
Have a course blog means that your students will know where to go to find the out what’s happening in your course. They know that they can use the tool to search for the data they want.
Digging through a syllabus or checking old announcements can be time consuming for some students. The course blog provides a familiar interface that is easy to search for needed information. In many instances, students can search by category, key word or date (week, month etc..). The blog keeps an archive of old posts so your students will know exactly where to look.
Keeping your students informed, engaged and in the loop is key to ensure they have a successful leg in their educational journey. The course blog allows you to let your students know what’s going on, provide feedback and provides an easy way to find all of that information.
*Blackboard Learn provides the added benefit of associating your picture with each post and your students’ pictures with each comment, thereby making the experience more personal and connecting.