What is a Blog? A blog (a short from the expression "weblog") is a discussional or informational website published on the WorldWideWeb consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style entries (or posts). Posts are typically displayed in a reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the blog. Until 2009, blogs were usually the work of one a single individual, and occasionally of a small group, and often covered one single subject or topic. In the 2010s, "multi-author blogs" (MABs) appeared, featuring the writing of multiple authors and even sometimes professionally edited. MABs that belong to newspapers, other media websites, universities, think-tanks, advocacy groups, and even similar institutions account for an ever increasing quantity of blog traffic. With the rise of Twitter and other similar "microblogging" systems that helped integrate MABs and single-author blogs into the news media. The term "blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

The continuous emergence and growth of blogs in the late 1990s also coincided with the advent of web publishing tools which facilitated the posting of content by non-technical users who either did not have much experience with HTML nor computer programming. Before, a knowledge of such technologies as HTML and File Transfer Protocol was been required to publish content on the WWW, and early Web users therefore tended to be either hackers, either computer enthusiasts. In the 2010s, the majority of blogs are interactive Web 2.0 webs, allowing users and visitors to leave online comments, and it is this exciting interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites. In this sense, blogging can be seen as a simple form of social networking service. Indeed, nowadays bloggers do not only produce content to post on their blogs, but also often help build social relations with their readers and other connected bloggers. However, there are higher-readership blogs which do not allow any comments.

What is a Blog?

What is a Blog?

Many blogs provide commentary options on a particular subject or topic, topics ranging from politics to sports. Others function as more personal online blog diaries, and others function more as online brand advertising of particular individuals or companies. A typical blog nowadays combines text, digital images, and even links to other blogs, webpages, and other media related to its topic. The new ability of readers to leave publicly viewable comments, and even interact with other commenters, is now an important contribution to the popularity of many blogs. However, blog owners or authors often moderate and filter these online comments to remove hate speech and/or other offensive content. Most blogs are primarily textual, although others focus on art (art-blogs), photographs (photo-blogs), videos (video-blogs or "vlogs"), music (MP3-blogs), and audio (podcasts). In the education field, blogs can also be used as instructional resources. These blogs are many times referred to as edublogs. Microblogging is just another type of blogging, featuring very short posts.

More academic research on the topic:

Blog - contraction of the term 'web logging' - perhaps best described as a form of micro-publication. Easy to use, from any point of Internet connection, the blogs have been firmly established as a web-based communications tool. The new phenomenon of blogs has evolved from its initial origin as a means for the publication of simple and personal journals and online, to the latest disruptive technology, the 'killer application' that has the ability to involve people in collaborative activities, exchange of knowledge, reflection and debate. (Hiler, 2003). Many blogs have large and dedicated readers, and groups of blogs have been formed that link other bloggers according to their common interests.

What is a Blog? The introduction


The "blogs" have evolved along lines similar to other forms of human communication in the sense that they are a product of convenience instead of design. Based on the inverse chronological publication of news, which invariably contains hyperlinks to third-party sites, and an opportunity for readers to enter personal responses to the articles, this rather organic and unstructured format of information delivery through the World Wide Web (WWW) came to be known as 'blogging', after 'web log' was shortened to 'blog' (Jacobs, 2003, p.1).

The origins of the blog are debated, but according to Blood (2000), the phrase 'web log' was first used by Barger (1997) and the abbreviated version by Merholz in 1999 (Merholz, 2002). Blogs as a phenomenon began to increase steadily after this time, and then there was an explosion in the amount of blogging when the first free do-it-yourself blog tools were available in mid-1999, especially on Blogger.com. However, purists within the blogging community ('the blogosphere') would claim that blogs really started in 1992 with the first website (Berners-Lee, 1992), followed by Netscape's "What's new"! Page for users of their new web browser in 1993. However, none is very close to the current notion of a blog, and in this sense, Scripting News (the brain of blogger 'guru' Dave Winer) and Slashdot (both of which started in 1997) stand out as important precursors.

Others may point to the fact that the online collaborative workspace in the form of 'wiki' predates any Australasian educational technology magazine, 20 (2), 232-247. AJET 20 developments in the blogosphere. Wiki, a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit web content through any browser, supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax to create new pages. The first wiki site was created for the Portland Pattern Repository in 1995, a site that now houses tens of thousands of pages. Since then, wiki has enjoyed varying degrees of success, in part due to the variability in the collective enthusiasm of users for creating content. Blogs, on the other hand, have a level of participation not previously experienced by the previous wiki initiative, and a greater sense of community and debate is promoted as a consequence.

Now, firmly established as a web-based communication tool, with an estimated number of users of more than one million (Bryant, 2003), blogs emerged from the first email lists and instant messaging communities as a means to inform a dedicated reader about the elements of interest by the authors, news and personal information. But the blog is much more than that. It is also a means to reach a wider audience; an unknown mass of 'netizens', ready and willing to respond to the opinions and comments of bloggers in a way not unlike that offered by a radio host. With a 'soapbox' for themselves, blogs provide their maintainers with the rare opportunity (at least for the great majority) to act as an information oracle. More importantly, perhaps, the publication of personal thoughts for the public consumption of such a vast audience can be an uplifting and, at times, cathartic experience (Jacobs, 2003, p.2).

What is a Blog? and their popularity

The key to the popularity of blogs, it seems, is the reach of interactivity. Although, initially, a blog can be treated by its maintainer as little more than a "news space", it is not uncommon for a distinctive style to emerge during a period of time, in the course of writing entries and response to comments. , which reflects the personal nature of the creator of the blog. Significantly, instead of alienating a reader by exposing their personal traits and idiosyncrasies, this adds to the popularity of a blog. As Jacobs explains, this is an integral part of the theater of interpersonal communication, represented in an indefinite, virtually infinite public space. In fact, this "exhibitionist behavior is encouraged, supported and even sought" by the "cyber-travelers" of this theater; verbigracia 'Blog readers, who post comments in response to posts, often positively reinforce the opinions of bloggers, but sometimes disagree on philosophy, politics or social comment points, and occasionally' flame 'the blogger for the opinions expressed '(Jacobs, 2003, p.2).

Blogger John Hiler has described the blog as 'the latest disruptive technology', the 'killer app' that has the ability to engage people in collaborative activities, knowledge sharing, reflection and debate, where complex technology and costly has failed (Hiler, 2003). In fact, the great beauty of blogs is their versatility. They cater to a wide diversity of interests and uses, and there is no rule that establishes that a blog must be owned by an individual and must be operated by him. There are group blogs, family blogs, community blogs and corporate blogs, and then there are blogs defined by their content; eg 'WarBlogs' (a product of the Iraq War), 'LibLogs' (libraries) and 'EduBlogs', a new type of blog that has begun to emerge in educational circles.

The simplicity of the blog mechanism as a public space for comments and dissemination of information has also attracted the interest of the business community, culminating in the first international conference on the commercial use of blogs in the United States in June 2003, and in development. of blog spaces hosted commercially, such as the Socialtext initiative. Bausch, Haughey and Hourihan (2002) argue that although formal knowledge management tools are complicated to implement and can be considered an imposition over time of a worker, informal systems such as blogs provide an opportunity to capture knowledge where create in an organization, sharing that knowledge through an organization.

In addition, the nature of blog engines allows the creation of a legitimate storage of captured knowledge and the archive for later retrieval (Bausch, Haughey & Hourihan, 2002). As a knowledge management tool, blogs offer the possibility of contextualizing relatively undifferentiated information articles that pass through an organization in a way that adds value, thus generating "knowledge" from mere "information". Demo comment systems and democratic publishing privileges allow an organization's employees to express their ideas and comments about procedures in a way that was not previously possible in a distributed office environment. In addition, personalized responses to news and messages are a simple means to develop an understanding of the collective knowledge of an organization and a means to expand that knowledge, thus creating "intelligence" from "knowledge" (see Pór and Molloy 2000). ). Thus, in a business context, blogs provide a forum for learning. Therefore, logically it follows that the collective knowledge generation experience can and should be applied to traditional educational environments.

The research of Ferdig & Trammel (2004), based on the educational theories of Vygotsky (1978), is also important in evaluating the educational value of blogs. They argue that the discursive nature of knowledge construction is best addressed through the blogging system based on immediacy and comments. Note that there will be a natural tendency for reflection and analysis by the student, as feedback systems are integral to the interface of blogging, but also note that the contextualization of learning through hypertext links to other materials encourages the revision and revision of the concepts learned. , enriching the learning experience. Compared to asynchronous discussion forums, such as newsgroups and bulletin boards, Ferdig & Trammel (2004) argue that blogs are more successful in promoting interactivity that is conversational; a more conducive interaction mode to improve relations between students and teachers, active learning, higher order thinking and greater flexibility in teaching and learning in general.

Despite the scarcity of articles from academic journals on the phenomenon of blogs, the 'un-arbitrated' comments are quite voluminous. The phrase 'not arbitrated' appears here in a set of inversions quite deliberately, because much of this comment (as one might expect) is located in various EduBlog sites around the world (see, for example, Weblogg-ed and Weblogs in higher education, both incorporate high-quality work with a lot of very willing to offer constructive criticism "referees". in short, therefore although one could conclude that academics have been a bit slow To get out of the blocks of departure, the fact of the matter is that blogs, for all intents and purposes, are a grassroots phenomenon.For this reason, academic bloggers, if they are true to their ideals, can be more concerned about spreading their message in the blogosphere ... that in the 'Journal of Obscure Facts'! Meanwhile, for the academic community that does not participate in blogs, it may not be enough time for blogs to penetrate the layer outside of its paradigm. For them, blogs EMS is working in practice, but does it work in theory?

Weblogs at Harvard Law

Several universities around the world have started using blogging tools, including the University of Iowa, Rice University and Harvard University. Plans to use blogs at Stanford University and RMIT University in Melbourne have also been implemented. The 'Weblogs at Harvard Law' organized by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School is, perhaps, the most impressive of these initiatives, due in large part, as one might imagine, to the influence of Dave Winer, a Berkman . Companion and blog guru for a long time.

The first blogging initiative in a major educational institution, emerged after a conference at the Berkman Center in November 2002 entitled: "What is the digital identity of Harvard?" At this conference, Provost Steven Hyman challenged the deans, faculty and administrators gathered to harness the power of the Internet to break down the silo mentality and build intellectual bridges that facilitate the flow of information and ideas between different schools and university.

Even as a child (beginning in early 2003), the Harvard Weblogs project has already made great strides. The Berkman Center hosts blogs on a dedicated server, provides software and support, and aggregates and classifies blog activity. Anyone with an email address harvard.edu can create a new weblog for free. Numerous personal blogs are fed by Weblogs in the "group" of Harvard Law, published jointly by Winer and, in fact, mutually, promote lifelong learning and help link a community around the common theme of Harvard University and the academic discourse.

The main purpose of this document is to comment, critically, on the potential of blogs as "learning spaces" for students within the higher education sector. To this end, reference will be made to emerging literature on the subject, how personal blogs have been used for educational purposes in university courses (for example, Harvard Law School) and how the Brisbane Business School (BGSB) at the University Queensland Technology (QUT) worked by experimenting with a group 'MBA blog'. The document concludes that blogs have the potential to be a transformation technology for teaching and learning, and universities should pay close attention to the configuration of blog facilities within their learning management system (LMS).

Academic literature about blogs.

Surprisingly, there is not a large amount of arbitrated published material on the subject of blogs in general, much less work that focuses specifically on blogs in education. The combined searches in ProQuest, EBSCO and Gale yielded only 30 results in peer-reviewed academic journals, and most of these focus on the influence of blogs on journalism and reporting. Since blogs can be reasonably described as a form of micro-publication, it is not a great surprise that blogs are a phenomenon that catches the attention of this particular academic community (see, for example, Welch, Jensen & Reeves, 2003) . Nor should it be surprising that many journalists see blogs with a touch of cynicism, understandably skeptical, perhaps, that a large number of fans could be a serious threat to their profession (see, for example, the pessimistic view advocated by Thompson 2003). However, the fact is that blogs are not a passing fad, the available data show that, while bloggers come and go, the blogosphere continues to expand incessantly (Whelan 2003). The latest forecasts suggest that the number of hosted blogs created will exceed five million by the end of 2003 and ten million by the end of 2004 (Henning 2003).

Another observation that could be made of the existing academic literature on blogs is that in those cases in which the educational applications of the blog are considered, this literature tends to concentrate on the areas of teacher training and other professions where the use of reflective journals such as Learning The tool is accepted in practice and in practice, and where, consequently, there is a greater likelihood of a favorable disposition to the blogs in the first place (for example, Stiler and Philleo, 2003; Wagner, 2003). Another area that has responded positively to blogs is librarianship, where information search and retrieval skills are an integral part of the work. Here, again, one might expect a natural predisposition to the idea of ​​the blog (see, for example, Embrey, 2002, Clyde, 2002).

An article that reflects a bit more deeply the potential of the blog as a tool to promote deeper learning on several fronts is the one produced by Oravec (2002). In addition to commenting on the advantages of using a tool that serves as an online magazine that encourages personal reflection, and as a means to encourage collaboration through the exchange of links to resources and updated information, Oravec (2002, p. 618) notes that The blog has many dimensions that adapt to the "unique voices" of students, which gives them power and encourages them to be more analytical in their thinking. The reason, simply, is that in order to develop and maintain a clear and confident voice of oneself, one has to formulate and carefully support one's opinions. Writing a blog helps here because it forces a student to confront their own opinions and contemplate how their points of view can be interpreted and reflected by others (Mortensen and Walker, 2002, cited in Lamshed, Berry and Armstrong, 2002).

The BGSB MBA blog In 1999, the BGSB introduced a new innovative MBA course that offers prospective students more flexibility and options, and improved services such as study guides and online teaching and learning (OLT) sites for each unit. of course. This initiative has proved to be a great success, the number of students tripled at the same time that the costs of the courses have more than doubled and the entry standards have been raised.

Funded in full with student fees, the BGSB, like other institutions in the same position, is very sensitive to market perceptions of its services. One strategy actively pursued by the School has been to obtain an international reputation for the flexible delivery of its programs. Flexible delivery is, by definition, a customer-oriented approach because it is a commitment on the part of the education provider to adapt the courses to meet the diverse individual needs of its students. In addition, it is a tacit recognition of the fact that the student's profile has changed drastically (socially, culturally, economically) and that, pedagogically, a student-centered curriculum is necessary to serve this increasingly diverse student body.

Integral to this strategy has been the development of OLT sites. The framework for OLT sites varies from one unit of course to another but, generally, there is a download facility where students can access the PowerPoint slides, WWW links, solutions to problems, previous exams, chat space and discussion forums (electronic bulletin boards). An important impulse for the introduction of a blog tool in this environment was a general feeling of dissatisfaction with the levels of participation in the discussion forums.

It was decided that an 'MBA blog' would be tested with students from two units of the course who would be encouraged to participate by making contributions based on the subject they were studying; verbigracia Macroeconomics and international political economy. While no specific instructions were given to the students in one way or another, the blog administrators expected that there would be a cross-course unit discussion, and this is precisely what happened. In fact, very little advice was given to the students on how they should proceed, in addition to how to log in and how to use the blog editing facilities. In summary, it was decided that the blog should focus as much as possible on the students, and the students themselves should determine what form and form the blog should take. Participation in the blog was optional, but students were informed that five "significant" contributions in the unit's six-week period would be sufficient to obtain five points (within the flexible evaluation system used in both units of the course). Ultimately, about half of the enrolled students elected to participate.

Blogs are perhaps the most obvious realization of Allen's vision to provide a forum for academic discourse that goes beyond the scope of a university subject and that increases the creation of knowledge throughout the enrollment of a student in a program of higher education. The students have learned as much from one another as they have learned from an instructor or from a textbook; it's just about finding a suitable vehicle to facilitate this learning. The 'cut and push' of the MBA classroom has played this role for many years and probably will continue to do so for some time, but the blog offers another forum of this kind, one with which successive generations of students will feel increasingly comfortable. As it becomes more common for people to relate to each other online instead of on campus. (In fact, some might argue that we have already overcome this point). In summary, blogs have the potential, at least, to be a truly transformative technology in the sense that they offer students a high level of autonomy while providing opportunities for greater interaction with peers. A blog tool would be a valuable addition, therefore, to any LMS.

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