I'm teaching a introductory course in Communication Studies - "Communication and the Information Society" where we examine current trends in communication technology. This semester I having a HORRIBLE time getting my students motivated to even be interested in reading blogs, subscribing to blogs, searching for blogs, and "heaven forbid" blogging themselves!

Anyone have any tips, tricks or resources they would like to share in getting these college students excited about blogging?

Tags: blogging, blogs, help, resources

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My grad students aren't too thrilled with it until they start getting comments back from the bloggers they're writing about. Are your students in a walled garden so the only people who can read them are them?

My students balked until they got their feed readers going and subscribed to people who were doing work they were interested in. It also made it easier for them to find stuff to write about.

And that was the third obstacle -- "I don't have anything to say!" I think it was Will Richardson who pointed out that if you don't have anything to say, then you're not reading enough.

I also encourage them by giving small points often rather than big points rarely.

--- but if you're talking about "current trends" and talking about blogging, that might be a problem, as well. Try tweeting your lessons 140 characters at a time. Or Plurk them.
I have a couple of ideas, which may or may not be suitable for your situation.

1) Would you have time and the internet access, in class, to go to a blog with the type of content you are hoping the students will read? If so, you could select an interesting blog post, read it together in class, raise discussion questions, and comment on the blog. A portion of class time each week can be the same activity but with students making the recommendation for the blog to be looked at that day. Hopefully, it would encourage them to look at blogs during the week but also provide the modeling for them in what they should be looking for and how to comment. I've done some reading on blogging in the classroom as part of my reading Masters and it seems that at every level, except postgraduate, students really need the in-class time to support their efforts.

2) My second recommendation is to ask whether or not you have a "home" blog for the class? If you were to put up a blog with recommended links for the week to read, you could encourage a comment discussion of the content on your blog. Also, I am not familiar with the specific applications, but perhaps a live chat box on the home blog would also be a way for you to interact with your students. You can have "Chat Box Hours" and let them know when you will be available for them to comment AS they are reading a blog post, etc.

I have to warn you that I am just a grad student w/very little teaching experience! I have interned in a reading class at a community college and blogging is the subject of my final project. However, I do not have a lot of experience in knowing exactly what will and will not work in a classroom setting.

Good luck!

P.S. If you are interested, I can send you information on the articles that I've read on blogging in undergraduate classrooms.



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