(From Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching) Teaching with Blogs. Although people often think of social media as a space for non-academic interactions, blogs can be helpful tools for instructors interested in enhancing their students’ communication skills and increasing their students’ investment in learning. Blogs can be spaces for informal or formal writing by students, and the capacity of blogs to support multiple forms of media (images, videos, links, and so on) can help students bring creativity to their communication. Most blogs includes tools for commenting and discussion, enabling students to engage their ideas in conversation with others, either within their local learning communities or on the open Web.
Student writing is often seen by just one person on the planet (their instructor), which can make writing assignments feel like “busy work.” The dynamic interaction between writer and audience that blogs facilitate can help students see real value in their academic writing and take that writing more seriously. Blogs can be an excellent balance between the rigor and structure of a formal written assignment and the freedom to experiment with ideas and arguments.