Lessons Learned, Resources Created:

2013 Class Blog Assignment


Buoyed by the research for my Boot Camp workshop, I piloted two blogging assignments in my University of Wyoming nonprofit courses. The first was the most timid of attempts, with voluntary student participation. The second was a classwide project that replaced a dysfunctional, wiki-based group assignment. On this page, I share an outline of the assignment and a few of the resources created to support it.

Assignment Purposes:
  • Engage students in deeper individual research on a topic of interest
  • Create a "group" learning experience (with minimal "group" anxieties)
  • Share their research with others (in this assignment, a global audience)
  • Introduce them to a widely-used social media platform

Assignment Structure:
  • Students select topic of interest (and deadlines attached).

BlankSpreadsheet.jpg

  • Students worked as two- or three-person teams to identify subtopics to cover (and fit as a somewhat cohesive unit). Peer reviewers assigned within each trio or duo.
  • Proposals submitted to instructor for approval and advice
  • Drafts submitted to peer reviewer (cc instructor) for editing, corrections, questions, etc.
  • Peer reviewer (and instructor) provide feedback
  • Student author posts final version to blog platform, saves as draft. Instructor reviews one last time before publishing. Posts published across the week, to avoid overloading subscribers.

Support Provided:

Beyond the feedback in the process described above, the instructor provided a series of supportive tools and resources to address student questions, concerns, problems, etc. Among those supports were:


  • Blog chat thread in LMS - Intended as a space for FAQs, examples, reiterating information shared, sharing of examples.
  • Created a blog tour video - showing how to access, write, save, etc. Saved in iTunesU.
  • Created a Blogger stats video - showing how to track stats on their post (and the blog itself). Saved in iTunesU; also could go under blog tab.
  • Created blog subscription tutorial - to show how to subscribe to our RSS feeds.
  • Blog guidelines document - attempting to set some expectations, offer hints, etc., to get them started.
  • Blog style sheet - an attempt to keep things from getting ugly (e.g., funky type choices, colors) and define how to handle things like headings.
  • Multi-step process w/specific deadlines - to build in opportunities for feedback, quality check, peer interaction. Better support from me. Some semblance of "team" interaction. Chance to improve quality of final product.

Following are copies of two of those tools:


Blog assignment guidelines



Blog style sheet

Other Resources:

A link to the class blog - http://uwyonpmgt.blogspot.com/
A link to my "Blogging in the Classroom" Pinterest board - http://pinterest.com/npmaven/blogging-in-the-classroom/
A link to my general "Blogging" Pinterest board - http://pinterest.com/npmaven/blogging/

On the Wiki Front...

And also not "classroom" related, but to share with participants in my 2013 "Blogs and Wikis" workshop:

A blog post showing demos of both PBWorks and Wikispaces (with links to each platform) -
http://www.boardlearning.org/2013/05/board-portals-two-do-it-yourself-wiki.html