Blogging 101

Bill Thompson, a commentator on the BBC and journalism teacher, explains why he has his students blog. Nothing earthshattering here but it’s a good summary of the reasons why. I hope and assume my students at CUNY will be blogging before they get to class…. and podcasting and vlogging and tagging and…. [via BloggersBlog]

  • I tried having a students write to a common blog for a couple of semesters but gave it up because of a variety of technical problems. I still think it’s a good idea, and I probably will try it again. But for what it’s worth, here’s my advice:

    1. Start early and go at it hard until everybody is up to speed.

    2. Don’t assume that students are already blogging, that they know how to blog or that they even know what a blog is. In my classes, many students were far more adept that I will ever be, but a surprising number really had no knowledge or experience at all. And some otherwise reliable students were extremely reluctant to participate in any way.

    3. While I agree that, in the long term, students have to learn to deal with harsh and unreasonable critcism, it makes sense to try to protect them from getting too much, too soon. That never proved to be a problem in my classes, but it always nagged in my mind that it could be.

    4. On a completely unrelated note, I just ran across what you advised Bill Quick to do to himself. When I learned that, my estimate of you and your blog increased exponentially.

  • Jeff – you’re right that my piece is nothing earthshattering – at least not to those of us who are already trying to deal with the implications in our practice – but I hope it’ll raise understanding among the majority of BBC readers. At least, we can dream…

    I agree completely with David that you can’t assume that students are blogging already, as a lot of journalism students don’t really know or care about technology (that’s one of the reasons they come to my class), though I’ve noticed that those wanting to cover entertainment and music are generally better positioned than the wannabe political journalists. So I do a lab session on what blogs are, then a second one during which they build a simple ( blog – then it’s up to them. We’ll see how the latest bunch get on!


  • Bill, no insult intended and I hope none was taken! It’s a good piece; just letting my readers know that many of them know it. But is a great summary and that’s precisely why I point readers to it … and why I I found it interesting for my upcoming teaching.

  • I’m just finishing up the first semester of our new online journalism class at Northeastern and I had the students blogging all semester. Overall, I think it went well and will definitely be doing it again next semester. The blogs ranged from great to just okay – some students really took to it and others, well …

    We did have a few “teaching moments”- but I think those moments are worth the rewards of having j-students practice writing in a more free and opinionated style. The key is to lay some ground rules at the beginning, but leave room for adjustments as you go along.

    Here is our class blog and the student blogs are listed off to the right. Their last assignment was to write a final essay on how the whole blog experiment worked for them. Jeff – good luck with your new higher education endeavors!