Instructional Technologies in Education

Blogs

What are they?

A blog (a.k.a., "web log") is an online collection of personal commentary and links. Blogs can be viewed as online journals to which others can respond.

Other typical characteristics of a blog include the following:

  • Website that has automatic formatting of content in the form of headlines followed by entries.
  • Posts are submitted via a web form.
  • New posts appear at the top of the page and are immediately added to the site with time and date stamps.
  • Old posts are automatically archived and remain available.
  • Readers can submit comments on each post.
  • Syndicated through an RSS feed.
Source: Martindale & Wiley, 2005. Using Weblogs in Scholarship and Teaching. TechTrends 49:2, p. 55.

See also: 7 things you should know about...Blogs (PDF)

How are they used in education?

What are some resources?

Where is there help?


Blog Terminology
  • Aggregation: Many blog software packages allow you to pull in and display the RSS or Atom feed of another blog. This is useful if you want to create a site with constantly updated content fed by blogs. For example, a blogger who posts about politics could pull in the feeds of other political blogs.1
  • Blog Carnival: A blog article that contains links to other articles covering a specific topic.2
  • Blog Feed (RSS Feed): The XML-based file in which the blog hosting software places a machine-readable version of the blog so that it may be "syndicated" for further distribution on the web. Formats such as RSS and Atom are used to structure the XML file.2
  • Blogroll: A list of the blogs read by the blogger whose site you are on; also kept to recommend books and other media, as well.2
  • Categories: Categories permit a blogger to subdivide content, putting posts about politics into one basket and posts about celebrities in another. Categorization helps readers read only what they are most interested in and is a good tool for those scanning a blog's archives.1
  • Permalink: Permanent link. The unique URL of a single post.2
  • Photoblog: A blog mostly containing photos, posted constantly and chronologically.2
  • Slashdotted: The Slashdot effect can hit blogs or other websites, and is caused by a major website (usually Slashdot, but also Digg, Metafilter, Boing and others) sending huge amounts of temporary traffic that often slow down the server.2
  • Syndication: Distribution of a news article through a syndicate (via an RSS feed) for distributing content for reuse or redistribution on other websites simultaneously.3
  • Trackback: Helps bloggers link back to other posts on related subjects. If you're posting about something you've seen on another blog, look for the Trackback URL. Paste that URL into the allotted spot in your own blogging software, and the two pieces of blog software will communicate, building a link from the original post to yours.1
  • Troll: A commenter whose sole purpose is to attack the views expressed on a blog and incite a flamewar.2

Sources:

    1 Gardner, S., 7/14/05. Time to check: Are you using the right blogging tool? USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review. The Annenberg Center for Communication at USC. Available: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/050714gardner/  Retrieved 4/7/06.

     2 Wikipedia. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_blogging_terms  Retrieved: 5/28/14.

     3 RSS Toolchest. Available: http://www.rsstoolchest.com/rss-glossary.html  Retrieved: 4/7/06.