Blogs and Canvas

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We have a session coming up on blogs and Canvas, and this post is the resource to accompany that session. This session will likely be repeated each month, depending on demand. We’ll update this post each time a session takes place.

What is a blog?

A blog was originally a Web-Log. Web logs were used before Facebook and the like, to make notes on the things an author found on the Internet. Typically a log or post would contain a link to a website, and some form of annotation for it. The most recent post would be at the top, and older posts would move down. The blog had its own URL, and was normally openly accessible on the web.

Some researchers used blogs to record their projects, making many blogs a valuable source of information. Over time 1998-2008 a great variety of blogs emerged, covering almost any interest area. All blogs offer an RSS feed that enable people to subscribe to many blogs and have their updates appear in the one place – an RSS reader.

One of the first blogging platforms was Blogger (later acquired by Google). WordPress was also an early Blogging platform. There were many. Blogging started losing popularity with the arrival of social media like Facebook and Twitter, and the closure of popular RSS Readers like Bloglines and Google Reader.

Blogs in Education

Blogs were a critical form of professional development for educational developers and many teachers. Movements like Web2.0, EduPunk and OpenEducation existed almost entirely in a blogging network. Concepts like Networked Learning and Connectivism developed on the back of these blogging networks.

Along side this, many teachers explored the use of blogs in class and group work. Some asked students to submit work into a single class blog, others asked students to start their own blogs and then had their RSS feeds feeding into the one class space. This is considered a Connectivist approach and more authentic approach to online teaching and learning.

Blogs and Canvas

ePortfolio

There is not a blogging tool in Canvas. Instead, you can consider asking students to use their ePortfolio. But this isn’t much like blogging in terms of a connected network.

Discussions

You could consider using Discussions as a kind of blogging tool, maybe in smaller groups within the course. But this isn’t much like blogging either.

Actual blogging

You might consider then, using an actual blogging tool, and have that feed into your Canvas. Blogger is one such tool, as is WordPress. Anyone in your course can create a blog in either of those places freely, and there are several ways you can have snippets of those posts displayed in the one place within Canvas. For example, you might keep a teacher blog, where you review the work of the students, and have that teacher blog feed in on announcements. If you’re looking for an authentic blogging network experience with Canvas, have a look at Laura Gibbs’ notes on how she achieved it, using inoreader. Here’s an ad for inoreader:

Inoreader has the functionality of the old RSS readers

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