When you think of media and journalism classes, do you think of student blogging? If not, you should. The education process in journalism and media courses can be greatly enhanced through the introduction of student blogging and personal introspection following each project or activity. Here are the 5 top reasons why student blogging should be a significant part of media and journalism classes.
First, what goes on the blog?
Each post-project blog should be relatively short, consisting of just 3-5 sentences and include supporting images, videos, and links. The student blog should be a self-critique of their performance and address:
- Lessons learned
- Challenges overcome
- What did they like most and least about the project?
- What would they do differently?
- Links: supporting documentation, research, etc.
- Images: pictures that document steps taken or help support the copy.
- Videos: If the project was a video, embed the video into the blog page.
Top 5 Reasons for Student Blogging
- Blogging teaches 21st Century Skills. A blog is a powerful learning tool because it is multimodal in nature. It ties together in very short order writing skills, technology skills, creativity, and critical thinking and analysis. As discussed in our How to Grade Student Video Projects webinar, these facets by definition are 21st Century Skills which are so coveted by today’s employers. By requiring students to write a blog post after each project, they are building and enhancing their 21st Century Skills.
- Self-reflection is powerful. People are often their own harshest critics. When asked what did you learn, or how could you have done better, students will often be very open and honest with their answers. Think about times that you have been criticized for your work, doesn’t it feel better when you recognize the faults first and when your critical observations are supported by others? It does! By personally journaling their own appraisals they are anchored stronger in the student’s mind, making it less likely that the student will commit the same mistakes again. Likewise writing down their personal triumphs and satisfaction increases their sense of self-worth which fuels a student’s desire to perform even better in the future.
- Blogging may help those students with verbal challenges. Students do not all possess the same ability to communicate. Some have good overall communications skills while others struggle with verbal or written skills. For those students who struggle with verbal communication, they may find an ideal outlet in blogging. You may be pleasantly surprised by what your students write vs tell you verbally. And there is nothing to prevent you from asking students to create a video or voice-only recording of their critique. This is just another opportunity for your students to engage with technology and enhance their delivery and presentation skills.
- Blogging enhances writing skills. The core aspect of blogging is writing. Simply put, the more you write, the better you get. True blogging is based on frequency; the contribution of multiple short, thoughtful articles on a weekly basis. Therefore blogging is an ideal means to practice writing skills with a very public sharing of the output.
- Blogging teaches technology skills. The underlying technology used in blogging can range from students using Word docs and Google Docs to web-based blogging tools such as found in Wix, Weebly, or WordPress. We strongly recommend the use of one of the web-based systems as they contain tools that make creating, managing and publishing a blog easy. Each of these systems offers free versions, so there is no financial burden to the student or institution. Plus, these sites are heavily used in the business world enabling your students to gain experience with software that they may use later in their careers. There is no doubt, the act of designing a personal website/blog theme, regularly writing, revising and editing copy, inserting links and images, are all fundamental marketing and business technology skills that students will find useful in later life.
Bonus Reason!- Blogging creates a student digital portfolio. As students complete assignments and projects, they are in essence creating a portfolio of their accomplishments and skills. This material when organized in blog and website form, creates a digital portfolio that can be shared with prospective educational institutions and employers. Learn more about how SchoolTube can provide your students with free digital portfolios.
Evaluating the Blog. Student blogs if made a requirement should be graded and evaluated as if they are part of the overall project. During our webinar on How to Grade Student Video Projects, our guest speaker Don Goble shared his blog evaluation criteria which evaluate blogs against two main criteria: 1) the quality of writing and presentation, and 2) multimedia and community considerations.
- Under Quality of Writing and Presentation, evaluate the style and voice, and whether the work insightful, interesting and reflective. Is the work clear, sound and convincing? Lastly, look at the technical aspects of page formatting, spelling, grammar and punctuation.
- Under Multimedia and Community considerations, evaluate whether each blog post contains supporting images, graphics and videos and that these elements add new information, interest and perspective to the blog copy, and finally, the blog should contain links to supporting materials or resources that increases the reader’s understanding of the topic.
We recommend downloading Don’s blog feedback form form for a better understanding of how to provide blog feedback to students.
In summary, if you want to maximize learning, further engage your students and help build their 21st Century Skills while creating a shareable portfolio of work in the process, then require students to blog about their media and journalism projects. Blogging is a fun, simple way for students to reflect on their work and share their thoughts with a public audience.