A blog short for ‘weblog’, is an online platform, or website, where authors regularly write reflective, analytical articles (called posts or entries), typically in a journal/diary-style.
Usually written in short, structured paragraphs, authors can embed supporting images, videos or links that evidence or demonstrate key points in their blog post. A single blog can be authored by a single student or multiple students as part of group-based assessment.
…….. facilitate and assess the development of students’ critical thinking and reflective writing skills and ability to synthesise thoughts and ideas within a coherent discussion.
Blogs allow students to create reflective, analytical content which they can share with a broader community and receive commentary or feedback on (via online comments). In this way, blogging can support communication, peer feedback, peer review, collaboration and community-building (Yang 2009).
By engaging students in reflective practice within a common digital platform, blogs also provide opportunities for enhancing digital capabilities including digital communication and participation (JISC 2021).
Students can be creative with the structure (unless they have been given a certain template) but, like an essay, it does require referencing.
Key considerations when using blogs for assessment
Blogs can be individual or collaborative and can be used to support students to showcase activity over a period of time. If you are integrating blogs into your assessment diet, consider:
- Why is a blog the most appropriate way to assess student learning?
- How does the rubric for the blog reflect the learning outcomes?
- Where is the blog to ‘be’ in digital space: in the VLE/ on a 3rd party blog site?
- Is the blog to be individual or collaborative?
- Is the blog to be hosted as a private or public blog?
- Are you using a blog exclusively as summative assessment, or formatively leading to a summative assessment?
- Are you assessing the blog quantitatively (e.g. number of posts, length of posts), qualitatively, or both?
External tools (unsupported by Trinity):
Voices from the disciplines
Dr Cian O'Callaghan is an Assistant Professor in the department of Geography.
Here he talks about using blogs as an assessment method for his third year students in their Urban Economic Structure and Regeneration module.
Examples of student blogs
This journal paper from Stoszkowski and Collins (2017) explores the use of shared online blogs as a tool to promote reflection and community of practice (CoP) in undergraduate sports coaching students.
This comprehensive toolkit from the University of Edinburgh provides a wealth of resources on how to write for reflective blogs and journals.