Institutional Student blogs as PLE/ePortfolios? Maybe not.

Usually when I see articles about blogs its about their ongoing and prolonged death, not their expansion.

“One goal for the Richmond, VA, campus was to eventually get as many of its 30,000 students as possible blogging and tweeting regularly about their schoolwork. So one of the first projects at the ALT Lab was the Connected Learning/Digital Engagement Initiative, which introduced the use of course Web pages to incorporate blogs created by students as well as other uses of social media.”

“…today, more than 7,000 blogs and Web sites have been created across courses in a wide number of academic disciplines — everything from biology and sociology to nursing, African-American studies and French.”

I like the idea that units can have an out ward facing component but the privacy and IP needs to be managed.  If it’s inward facing and just for the unit cohort I don’t see the point, Moodle covers this in a much more manageable way.

What is interesting is giving students their own WordPress blog site to use though their course.

“…eventually the goal is for students to continue to use the blogs, Web sites and social media tools as they advance through their collegiate careers. The technology will not only help students to make connections about what they’re learning, but will also function as an e-portfolio, documenting their work.”

I have a few questions, does this articulate with their units, can it be used for assessment, how public/private is it, what happens to their content when they leave?

I suppose another question is why would they use it.  If students want to create a personal professional site there are a number of options – Instagram, WordPress, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn etc.    They can use multiple platforms and provide a single aggregation page using something like Netvibes.

I think what might be useful is a plugin that allows private user created sites to articulate with the LMS.

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