Do Students Need Blog Guidelines? Of Course!

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Blogging in an academic context is relatively new, so students may not be sure what to expect. And don't forget that younger students may equate blogs to their Facebook account.

Unless your course topic touches on what parties your students attended, guidelines are generally recommended. Blogs and threaded discussion share similar features, so many guidelines are similar.

Some guidelines I might recommend

1. List topic parameters for students.
2. Suggest students avoid writing anything they don't want a future employer (or their parents) to read.
3. Suggest post lengths and tone. Do you want blogs to be semi-formal reflections, professional news stories or formal research notes?
4. If students are commenting on posts, then avoid personal attacks.
5. If you want each student to post, then make a certain number of posts required.
6. Don't grade in public - many blogs may be viewable by the public, so grading information must be kept confidential as always.
7. If topics are sensitive, allow students to post in a private space. ANGEL bulletin boards are still a good option for that.
8. Most users use correct punctuation and grammar on blogs, but it doesn't hurt to remind students to use it.

P.S. Blog guidelines should not be too surprising. Guidelines have been needed for every new communication technology including chat, e-mail and threaded discussion.

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