Blue-PencilIn a few presentations I’ve given, I have mentioned that I sometimes require instructional design and technology students to write blog posts.  For example, in my graduate course on elearning and project management, my Masters and doctoral students write blog posts on specific topics.  I’ve had audience members sometimes come up to me afterward and ask me about the requirements I use with these blog posts, and I usually provide some general guidelines for them.  However, I decided I would go ahead and list here what my requirements are, so everyone can see how I try to encourage blog posts to receive comments.

ProBlogger logo (suggestion)
Image by Oyvind Solstad via Flickr

Much of my understanding of how to do this, admittedly, has come from Darren Rowse at  Darren and his trusty group of guest bloggers provide professional experiences of blogging and blogging for income.  While I’m not trying to get my students to become professional bloggers, what Problogger teaches is directly related to creating a professional learning community (PLC), a community that comments, and a community that cares about teaching one another.

Where I’m trying to go

Here are a couple of points I try to make with this assignment:

  1. Our profession is a community.  You have something to teach and something to learn.
  2. Bloggers are a community.  Referencing others’ posts encourages the community.
  3. Posts should have an opinion and direction.  People respond to these.
  4. By referencing and responding to other bloggers’ posts, you have to justify and relate your ideas. This is where the higher order thinking comes in.
  5. Including media enhances the post.
  6. There are good ways and bad ways to be a guest blogger.  The structure and format here includes ways to be a good guest blogger.

Here is a list of some of my students’ posts:

  1. K-12 Education: Moving from the Schoolhouse to the Superhighway
  2. The Perfect SCORM: Is there an impact to elearning or not?
  3. SCORM, standards in e-learning, and the groceries truck
  4. 5 things Facebook can teach us about elearning

Blog Requirements

Here is my list of requirements for my students’ posts:

  1. Write a blog post relevant to instructional design and development and elearning.
  2. Your post should be between 250 – 350 words.  (Doc students, this doesn’t include the references.)
  3. A list of topics can be chosen from _____ .
  4. Write your post in a word processing document. Skip a line between paragraphs. No paragraph indents.
  5. Submit it as an email attachment directly to me at _____ .
  6. Each paragraph in your entry should include at least one link to another blogger’s site.  These should be integrated as appropriate in your post.  These links should not be listed.  Consider agreeing, disagreeing, expanding or piggybacking off another blogger’s post. These links should be evidence of your thinking for this post.
  7. Your post should have a snappy/sexy/opinionated/pointed title.
  8. If appropriate, include a Web address to another media, such as a YouTube or TeacherTube video. Be sure to include a sentence that references/introduces your media.
  9. Your post should have a link to a copyright free and relevant image, such as from Flickr Creative Commons. Be sure to include the attribution information as well.  Include the image like this:
    • Image available from <insert URL here>
    • Image courtesy of <insert username> at <insert URL here>
  10. Include a brief (100 words or less) biography about you. Include descriptions of your teacher preparation, your work with children, what you’re currently doing and what you would like to do in the future. Be sure to include your name. Write this in third person.
  11. Include a list of at least 3 keywords to describe your post.
  12. Monitor your post to see if others have commented. Reply when they have.
  13. The post should be conversational and informal but free of grammar and spelling errors.

Are there other requirements that you would include or suggest for students when blogging?  Add them in the comments and let me know.

I’ve had a really great time here at TETC in Nashville.  The sessions on Wednesday went great.  The feedback I received was really positive, and I hope the information was helpful to many of the teachers.  Today, we’re going to be discussing two topics.  The links and topics are below.

W84-The Secrets to Project-based Learning (2:45 – 3:45pm, Ballroom C)

Here is the link to web page with the details about PBL all in one place. I plan to be adding some more pieces here, too, so let me know if you think something is missing.

  1. Secrets to Project-based Learning

Web 2.0 … from the beginning

Here’s the link to the page that contains details about the presentations

  1. Web 2 from the beginning

Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger is launching a series of posts for the month of April: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. While it might sound like an April Fool’s joke to start on April 1st, it’s not. Each day, you’ll receive a new email with thoughts and tips. Darren says, he’s going to focus on doing this year.

Why should you trust him? Darren has got the goods and doesn’t mind sharing about them. If you’re interested in learning about vocational or recreational blogging, then ProBlogger and Darren is a great place to start. If you’re interested in learning how to sustain a blog, ProBlogger and Darren is the go-to guy. If you’re interested in techniques to prevent writer’s block and maintain content through a planned approach, yep, ProBlogger and Darren is a great resource.

I began reading ProBlogger about six weeks ago, and it’s really made me think differently about blogging and where it might could go — even for me. In particularly his point of view on guiding the direction of a blog with a plan and a content map resonates with me. I also like that this gives the capricious and meadering nature of blogging a focus without taking away the spontaneity. I have to admit that I didn’t really get the whole “let’s make money at blogging” beyond the flashing ads. I really have a different perspective on this, and Darren is one guy who has really changed this point view. I’ve never met the guy; never emailed him; and I’ve never received an email from him. (Maybe this post will change all of that.) But, his tone, perspective and thoughts have connected with me. If you’re at all interested in blogging, I encourage you to sign up.

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