Blogs and Teaching, c/o Serendipities

Kristine at Serendipities has started up an interesting thread about the uses of blogs in teaching.  She’s decided to introduce blogs into her new grad course on gender next fall.  Here’s the discussion, with some helpful suggestions from Sharon at EMN (, and the usual anxious questions from yours truly:

If I understand her correctly, Kristine is looking to set up multiple class blogs, so that every student is in effect running her own blog and visiting others’ blogs. 

And, as you’ll see from my portion of the thread, when I asked around at my own university about setting up something, the tech people suggested I try Edublogs, which is based on WordPress (which is what we use here at the Long 18th).

So I looked at the Edublog site, which was fun, but raised as many questions for me as it answered.  I admit that my eyes glaze over after the first few minutes of this kind of stuff (strangely enough, not how I react to Habermas’s prose).  But the range and variety of options is enough to make me want to stick to blackboard and chalk.  More soon . . .

5 responses to “Blogs and Teaching, c/o Serendipities

  1. It’s pretty simple when you get into it… just like Habermas becomes after you grasp the fundamentals 🙂

    We’re always open to suggestions / ideas as to how we could improve it too.

  2. dave mazella

    Thanks, James.

    Actually, I don’t think I’m getting Habermas, either, but that’s a different post . . .

    I’ll be getting a presentation tomorrow, and then we’ll test it out. If I have ideas for usability, etc., I’ll contact you, if that’s OK.



  3. dave mazella

    [x-posted at Serendipities]

    OK, I met with Jennifer, our College Tech person, and we decided that Edublog and WordPress were effectively the same, as long as my class size remained small enough (below 35) to stay below the WordPress limit per class.

    So we mocked up two courseblogs, which already look pretty good, and it was amazingly easy and straightforward. So score one for WordPress. I’ll keep you posted.


  4. Kamille Stone Stanton


    I would be very interested in hearing how your experiment with courseblogs goes this semester. In theory, I think I would like to try something similar. At this point, I wonder how the students would react. I can imagine my freshmen treating it simply like a re-application of their facebook talents, and I wonder would I be OK with that? What would the ground rules be? What would my expectations be? My freshmen are going to be working on A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time this semester, and blog activities would put a new spin on teaching them how to be active readers. Or they’ll just cut and paste from Wikipedia as usual . . . .

    I hope you’ll keep us ‘posted’ as to how it’s going.


  5. dave mazella

    Sure, Kamille, no problem. As I told Jennifer today, the technology for blogging has gotten so easy (sorta like the Ipod) once you’re used to the interface, it feels pretty invisible.

    Kristine at Serendipities did a lot more legwork than I did, and found some good discussions about possible uses of blogs. Freshmen are obviously going to present different issues than incoming majors. I’m going to present students with a civility code the first day, though, and let them know that any inappropriate behavior online (or offline for that matter) could affect their grade or get them bounced.

    One of the people over in K’s links talked about the question of grading or not grading posts and comments. I’m treating their input as quizzes.

    More soon