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Blackboard 9.1 Online Guide: Blog Tool
Online Learning Modules

Introduction

Blog is one of the newest tools that has been added to Bb9.1. This module will focus on how to create and manage a blog and use this tool to promote reflective thinking and collaborative learning.

Objectives
  • Describe the main features of blog
  • Create a Blog topic
  • Create a blog entry
  • Post comments
  • Edit and Manage a blog
  • Give grade to student’s blog postings
  • Apply best practices in using Blog to promote reflective thinking and collaborative learning
Learning Activities

What is a blog?

A blog, also known as web log is a type of website that allows individuals to manage and post entries of text, images, links or videos regularly for public consumption. Blog entries are usually displayed in reverse-chronological order with the newest entries on top. Most blogs allow readers to post comments. Blogs with RSS feed and aggregation also allow readers to subscribe.

(To learn more about blogs, view the video Blogs in Plain English)

Blogs as an educational tool

Blogs have been widely used as an educational tool because of the many advantages they bear. For instance, blog activities provide genuine and authentic tasks for students, foster the development of a learning community, give students ownership over their own learning, display and harvest students' work. Faculty can use blogs as an instructional tool to deliver course content, express their opinions, or promote dialogues in the discipline. Student can use blogs to share knowledge, provide commentary on a particular event or topic, display their research, analytical and writing skills or display their artifacts in a specific field.

Blogs tool in Bb9.1

InBb9.1, Blogs tool are used as in a closed learning environment which allows only course members to post blog entries or comments. The instructor can create three types of blogs: course blogs, individual blogs or group blogs.The Instructor has the right to edit and delete entries in any of the three Blog types and delete user comments. RSS feed function is not provided in Bb9.1.

Course Blogs: The Instructor creates a Course Blog for the whole class and determines the topic to be addressed. All Course members can add Blog entries and post comments to Blog entries.

Individual Blogs: The Instructor creates a Blog for individual course members to use. Only the owner of the Blog is able to add blog entries. All other course members can view and add comments.

Group Blogs: The Instructor needs to enables the Blogs tool for the Group, if this function is used. All Group members can add Blog entries and make comments on Blog entries, building upon one another. Any Course member can view Group Blogs, but can only add comments.

Creating a Blog (Watch it)
Instructors can create one or more blogs for use by students in their courses. Blog topics must be created before students can add their entries.

Step 1: Log in the course and turn on Edit Mode.
Step 2:On Control Panel, click the arrow in front of Course Tools to expend the list.
step 3: Select Blogs to open the Blogs listing page
Step 4: Click Create Blog on the Action Bar, the Create Blog page opens.
Step 5: Type a Name for the Blog.
Step 6: Type optional Instructions for the Blog. Format the text and add images, links, multimedia, Mashups, and attachments using the functions in the Text Editor, if needed.
Step 7: Under Blog Availability, select the Yes..
Step 8: Set up Display After and Display Until date.
Step 9: Check the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable the date and time selections.
Step 10: Under Blog Participation, select blog type and Select Allow Anonymous Comments if needed.
Step 11: Under Blog Settings, select Monthly or Weekly Index Entries and make choices on
whether the blog allows Users to Edit and Delete Entries and whether it allows Users to Delete Comments or not.
Step 12: Select No grading or the Grade option and type the number of Points possible.
Step 13: Click Submit.

Note: Once a Blog is set to be graded, a column is created for it in the Grade Center. It is permanently gradable and cannot be set to No grading.

Creating Blog Entries (Watch it)

Step 1: Log in the course site and navigate to a blog page.
Step 2: On the Blog page, click Create Blog Entry action bar, the Create Blog Entry page opens.
Step 3: Type a Title for the Blog entry.
Step 4: Type text in the Entry Message text box.
Step 5: Format the text and add images, links, multimedia, Mashups, and attachments using the functions in the Text Editor, if needed.
Step 5: If enabled, select the check box for Post Entry as Anonymous, if appropriate.
Step 6: Alternatively, under Blog Entry Files, browse for a file to attach to the Blog entry.
Step 7: Click Post Entry to submit the Blog entry or click Save Entry as Draft to add the entry later.
Step 8: To view or edit saved drafts, click View Drafts on the Action Bar on the Blogs listing page.

Creating Blog Comments (watch it)
If a blog is set up with allowing User comments is enabled, students can comment on one another’s Blog entries, whether they belong to an individual, the Course, or a Group. The Instructor determines if comments can be made anonymously or deleted. The Instructor can delete any user’s comment. Comments cannot be edited after they are posted.

Step 1: On the Blogs listing page, select a Blog title.
Step 2: On the Blog’s topic page, select a Blog to view by selecting the user’s name in the side panel under View Entries by. The user’s Blog entries open in the content frame.
Step 3: Click Comment following the user’s entry. The Comment text box appears.
Step 4: Type a comment in the Comment text box.
Step 5: Click Spell Check at the bottom of the Comment text box to check the spelling of the content before continuing.
If enabled, select the check box for Comment on Entry as Anonymous, if appropriate.
Step 6: Click Add. Click the Comments link below the entry to view the comment.

Editing and Managing Blogs
Instructors can edit basic properties of a Blog topic, including the name, instructions, availability, and some settings. Once a Blog topic is designated for individuals or the Course, it cannot be changed to the other. Instructors can edit any user's Blog entries and can delete Blog topics. Comments can be deleted by the Instructor, but no user is allowed to edit Comments.

To edit a Blog

Step 1: With Edit Mode on, click a Blog's Action Link to access the contextual menu.
Step 2: Select Edit .
Step 3: On the Edit Blog page, make changes.
Step 4: Click Submit.


To delete a Blog

Step 1: With Edit Mode on, click a Blog's Action Link to access the contextual menu.
Step 2: Select Delete.
Step 3: Click OK in the confirmation window. All entries and comments are deleted.
Note: When a graded Blog is selected for deletion, a Delete Confirmation page appears. Select the appropriate check box or boxes to delete the Blog or the Blog and the Grade Center column.

Tochange the Availability of a Blog

Step 1: With Edit Mode on,
Step 2: On the Blogs listing page, select the check box next to the appropriate Blog.
Step 3: Point to Availability on the Action Bar to access the drop-down list.
Step 4: Select Make Available or Make Unavailable.

Grading Blogs
When a blog is set to be graded, a grade column is automatically created in the Grade Center. Then, individual Student and Group entries can be graded from the Blog topic page, where all entries and comments can be referenced, as the grade is determined. An assigned grade can also be edited from the Blog or Journal topic page and the Grade Center is updated. Students can view their Blog or Journal grades in the My Grades tool.

Grading Blog Entries for Individuals

Step 1: Access the Blog topic page and select the Blog entry or entries to grade by selecting the user’s name in the side panel under View Entries by. The user’s Blog entry or entries open in the content frame.
Step 2: Under Blog Grade in the side panel, click Edit Grade.
Step 3: Type a point total in the Current Grade Value text box. Note: If a Rubric has been created for this graded Blog, click View Rubric.
Step 4: Optionally, type Feedback for the user and Grading Notes, which appear to the Instructor and Grader only.
Step 5: Optionally, use the Spell Check function in the bottom of each text box.
Step 6: Click Save Grade to add the Feedback, Grade, and Grading Notes to the Blog Grade section and to the Grade Center.

(The Grade, Feedback, or Grading Notes can be edited by clicking the Edit Grade function again at any time. The changes appear in the Blog Grade section and in the Grade Center. The changes are documented in the Grade Center in the Grade History tab on the user's Grade Details page).

(A Group Blog is graded following the same steps as for an individual blog.)

It's Your Turn!

 

Best Practices in Higher Education

Best Practices on creating and managing blogs:

1. Plan purposeful, meaningful and authentic blog activities for your students
2. Provide clear guidance and expectations
3. Lead by examples
4. Require regular participation and encourage student's involvement and comments
5. Encourage peer evaluation and self assessment
6. Provide clear rubrics for evaluation.

Summary

Extra resources:

http://www.blogger.com/home
http://wordpress.com/
http://edublogs.org/
Bloglines (web-based aggregator): http://www.bloglines.com
Blog Search Engine: http://www.blogsearchengine.com
http://blogsforlearning.msu.edu/articles/view.php?id=6


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© 2010, The University of Toledo. A UT Learning Ventures Publication.
Last Updated: 1/3/12