Opening the Box: Building Online Learning Communities with Multiuser Blogging Environments
Although blogging is not new to education, current improvements to blogging systems have enabled this technology to be applied in innovative and creative ways. Instead of simply being mechanisms for individual reflection or announcement, newer features allow open-source blogging systems to become full-fledged virtual communities that enable sophisticated social interaction, collaboration, and peer evaluation.
A combination of the open-source blogging software, WordPress, with the free BuddyPress plugin, creates an environment in which students can create academic publications with a full-range of contemporary word-processing features (including the addition of images, video, and podcasts), share resources, work collaboratively, and comment and evaluate each other’s work.
At the same time, this system allows students to have direct control of their learning environment (through customized themes), to participate in Facebook-like social interactions (“friending,” “liking,” commenting, user profiles), to integrate social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr), and to collaborate (via document sharing, group support, and wikis). In addition this educational practice allows mobile access (via smartphones and tablets) as well as badges and gamification.
Participants in this webinar will be able to describe some of the major affordances of multiuser blogging environments, evaluate application of this technology in education, list basic technological requirements and enhancements, and identify other institutions currently using this innovation.