Is Blogging still a Resource?

As summer approaches and faculty go out to do their summer research, I had an opportunity to talk with someone about their upcoming research. They are going to be in two different countries studying a very special topic: human trafficking. I asked if they considered blogging their reflections during their research to help both their ability to capture what was happening for future articles but also for their colleagues studying the same topic during their summer research in other places.

I suggested the blog could serve as a a resource for students in future courses that wanted to research the topic of human trafficking.  The blog would be a repository for current updates in the field, current research questions, along with current personal scholarship.  The faculty member ponder for a moment and shared that two additional scholars might be very interested in participating in the blog as commentators but I thought they might want to participate as authors as well.

What I am suggesting is nothing new. Blogs have been around for years and provided this ability not just in education but for the population in general.  The truth is, very little technology is being developed strictly for educational institutions. Since before Microsoft released PowerPoint and someone said, “I can use that in my class”, technology has impacted the classroom. Instructional designers are here to help bridge the gap between intended use of technology and how it can become an educational tool.  Sometimes this is very simple, like using PowerPoint to enhance a lecture. Other times, we need to think how the technology can be used in a way that will enhance the learning environment like blogging.

What I have shared here is one example that involved a faculty member and their research. What about classroom blogging where students build a knowledge base for their class as well as future classes? Wouldn’t it be nice to not read the same research/book/topic each semester? Part of research is building on the work of others and contributing something new. Blogging can help students begin to see this and help them think beyond the end of the course.

If you have not considered blogging recently, go back and see where it might fit in to your curriculum!

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