Another way to bring blogs to class

Amber Willard Hinsley | University of Texas at Austin Blogging isn't just for reporting classes - students in editing classes can use it to hone their skills in synthesizing information, critical thinking, applying sound news judgment, writing active headlines, and practicing proper grammar, punctuation and style.

For the second half of the semester, each student creates a news blog on a topic of his or her choosing. (The topic needs produce enough information to be able to blog about twice a week.) Prior to the creation of student blogs, have at least one class session in which various types of blogs are reviewed and discussed. Also have the students present three ideas for their blog topic and lead a class discussion on some potential opportunities and pitfalls.

Student topics have included blogs on the latest news related to specific sports teams, film releases in Hollywood, new cell phone technology, and the impact of the economic downturn on the fashion industry.

Each blog post must contain analysis or evaluation of other current information about the topic (not just reiteration) and contain a link to the original source. Other requirements include writing posts that are at least four complete sentences, crafting an active headline, and using correct grammar, punctuation, and AP Style. Grades are based on news judgment, grammar, punctuation, and style. Additionally, the student blogs should be reviewed and discussed in class, with suggestions and constructive criticism offered for improvement.

The class blog site, with a blogroll of the student projects, is here.

This idea was adapted from a reporting for online media class taught by Mindy McAdams at the University of Florida.

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