Blogging is a useful digital writing tool for students and faculty. Blogs differ from other forms of digital writing because many are tied to individuals. This mode allows for personal expression (both professional and recreational). Blogs typically feature shorter pieces of writing, and may often be accompanied by pictures, sound, video, or other media. Blogs (as with most digital media) are constantly changing, and genres features are shifted and altered based on what people are writing. It is important to be aware of these shifts and understand the rhetorical uses of media that cause these changes.
There are many different blogging platforms available, and a platform should be chosen based on individual need and privacy considerations. WordPress is the one of the most widely used (and free) blogging resources. WordPress is also used to power a large number of websites (FIU uses WordPress for many of its sites, including this one), so it may be the best blogging platform for students that want to learn about professional web usage. Edublogs is a more student-friendly service. It is free, and lacks advertising/monetization platforms.
Blogging has several advantages over other media in a writing class. First, it can expose to professional writing. Many people use blogs to market themselves, including biographic information and a portfolio of work available to the public. In addition, many businesses use blogs to keep customers up to date on emerging products and services. Blogs are interactive. They feature comment sections that allow for some conversation, something that traditional essays aren’t as good at. Blogs also feature design elements that can help people learn about electronic texts. Color schemes, photo layouts, and the placement of text are all important considerations for blog writing.
Keeping up with the digital writing produced in your class can be difficult, so we recommend students and instructors use some form of RSS aggregator. Feedly allows for users to create an account and subscribe to different kinds of blogs. Different blgogs can then be organized into different groups for easy, digest-like reading. There are many aggregators that can provide a similar service for you on PC, Mac, Linux, Android, and iDevices.