Blogging, or writing to a weblog, is daily writing done in a specified online space. Services such as Blogger or WordPress host or weblogs or provide software for writers to install on their own webservers. Weblogs allow for readers to leave comments. They can be read on the Web or via an RSS reader. They can be used as class sites or students can be asked to maintain their own weblogs.
While weblogs are often associated with personal writing, they can be used for a variety of writing situations.
- Note taking. Students can keep personal weblogs and use them to keep notes. Notes serve as a tool for remembering readings and can also be used to spark class discussion. Notes also provide the students with overviews of course readings as a whole; kept online, notes can be searched easily for patterns and key terms that repeat across readings. Online, students can also read each other’s notes and learn how other students are understanding the readings.
- Informal writing. Students can use weblogs in order to write impressions, outlines, initial ideas, and responses to each other and to class readings. Writers typically do a considerable amount of informal writing before they write; the informal writing serves as a heuristic for the larger project.
- Formal writing. While the genre of the weblog is the daily entry, assignments can be designed that ask students to do research and writing within that format.
- Class discussion space. Because weblogs allow for multiple authors and also have the comment feature, class discussions during, before, or after class can take place on the weblog.