People write blogs—and commit to maintaining them—for a variety of reasons. They might desire a forum to publicly share personal details of their lives; they might want to keep an anonymous diary. They can be attempting to connect a business idea with potential consumers; they might be seeking a forum to air grievances in the workplace. They might want a forum for sharing their own creative work; they might be documenting their own personal creative process. Or—and here is where this particular blog’s concern will lie—they might be a student enrolled in a college composition course.
The web-log—or, as it is more commonly called, blog—is a Web 2.0 technology that has been frequently adapted to serve educational purposes. Whether used as a medium to take the place of Class Management Systems (e.g. Blackboard, Canvas, etc.) or as the online discussion site of an undergraduate course, the blog creates opportunities for students (and instructors) to both creatively and autonomously navigate the writing classroom. I will focus here upon the ‘course blog’ method of blogging, which I define as follows: a single blog that has been created by a course instructor who assigns, via the blog interface, each student to the role of ‘author’ to the site. The instructor is thus capable of maintaining/organizing the blog while students have the capacity to write and publish their own individual posts (to be added to the ongoing roster of posts). I focus on this type of blog (as opposed to individual student-run blogs) not to downplay the creative potential of such a format, but rather because I believe the collective class blog has the ability to reach a wider audience as it is collectively constructed by a classroom community.
This essay will explore the role of blogging in the writing classroom as a means through which students can become not only more engaged with the course but also—and crucially—more able to see themselves as both constructing and conversing with their writing. I will ultimately argue that the blog is a constructive and communicative space for writing, through which students can develop the type of voice that can be most profitably applied to future academic writing. To this end, I will—after defining the blog—discuss its ability to:
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