Student blogs

by Eszter Hargittai on February 1, 2005

A while back I posted about my plans to teach a class in which each student would be required to maintain his or her own blog. We are now halfway through the quarter (really) and so I thought it would be a good time to get some outside readers to take a look at the students’ blogs. If you happen to have a moment and wouldn’t mind surfing over I am sure the students would be delighted to get some comments from people not enrolled in class. has a link to each of the blogs in the right-hand menu.

As you will see, the quality of student posts differs quite a bit. This is not particularly surprising since one can expect some level of variation in the work of students for most classes. To give a bit of background on the content of the blog entries, students are required to post to their blogs each week discussing at least two of the reading assignments covered that week. Students can use their blogs to post other material as well. They are also required to post a comment on a peer’s blog each week. The syllabus also includes some additional blogging assignments (finding and discussing various online content).

Judging from midterm feedback, it sounds like most students are enjoying the blogging experience although some find commenting on others’ blogs a bit tedious. At the same time others find it disappointing that they are not getting more feedback so it’s hard to satisfy everyone. Having students blog about the readings is certainly helpful for an understanding of how they are processing the material. Their blog entries have guided discussion in several class sessions.

I’ve learned a lot from this experience and plan to write up a detailed description of the course logistics later. For now, feel free to take a look at how the student blogging is going by visiting some of their sites.



Nash 02.01.05 at 3:07 am

Good suggestion, Eszter. Consider it done. How long will this class last?


jet 02.01.05 at 3:20 am

It looks like several of your students are quite insightful. What a fun class to be a part of.


Kieran Healy 02.01.05 at 3:47 am

The main page you link to doesn’t render properly in Safari. The left-side navigation box is on the right, on top of the right-side box.


eszter 02.01.05 at 7:03 am

Nash, thanks. The class will go until early March. Did you end up commenting on any of the blogs? I’m only asking because one of the students in the class is going by the username Nash/Nashvegas (everyone’s using a pseudonym) and now I can’t tell if the comments were left by that person or you (or if you are that person taking the class:).

Kieran, thanks for letting me know, I had no idea. I thought I was using fairly standard css specifications, I have no idea why it would be showing up in such a problematic manner. I have only tested the page in Firefox and IE on Windows XP.. it seems to run into some glitches on IE, but at least the menus are on the appropriate sides.

I have added links to all the student blogs on so those who can’t see the links at can access them there.


agm 02.01.05 at 7:46 am

Wait, let me get this straight. You are teaching an entire class of people to digitally procrasinate, for credit? Seems like that could cause some cognitive dissonance… =)


Nash 02.01.05 at 2:07 pm

Eszter, No I am the Nash of blog commentary and not the one taking your class, although I did notice that blog. I did comment on several of the blogs, and will continue to visit and do so as appropriate.
One in particular seemed an excellent summary of that student’s thinking to date. I think it’s a great idea for a class.


Eric 02.01.05 at 2:36 pm

The feedback think can be frustrating. Maybe you could have a “neglected blog of the day” and give students credit for constructive criticism on that blog or entry. Get the better students more involved in moderation and give other students a reason to keep up involved in the blogs. It’s a great thing when you have the power to give some meta-direction to the blog.


Rich Puchalsky 02.01.05 at 3:24 pm

Hey, maybe the warbloggers can have a prize for the first guy to go to every student’s blog and angrily demand to know why they haven’t posted the good news about the Iraqi elections.


Farah 02.01.05 at 3:39 pm

Funnily enough I’d been thinking of trying the same thing with a creative writing class next semester, so it’s good to see it in action.

I like it. Some of the students have really used the space to think aloud.


yabonn 02.01.05 at 5:57 pm

By the by, i bumped into that the other day, that you may, or may not, find interesting :


yabonn 02.01.05 at 6:34 pm

About search engines, a link that you may or may not find interesting :

(i’m going to hate that if it ends in a double post)


yabonn 02.01.05 at 6:44 pm

Palm, forehead, slap.


ibar 02.03.05 at 4:26 am

Sounds like a great idea!

Recently, one of my law school professors was discussing a libel case arising out of a blog posting (a made-up situation, I believe). Claiming technical illiteracy, he asked for a show of hands on how many students in the class keep a blog. Only one student raised her hand (out of a 100).
But more surprizing was the confrontation between the student and the professor after class – the student claimed that a lot more people in the class probably kept blogs but were just too embarassed to admit it, and had she known that noone was going to raise their hand, she wouldn’t have done so either.
Now I’ve never kept a blog myself (I prefer blog-lurking :), but I also didn’t really think that blogging is somehow embarassing, especially these days.

I wonder whether your students are self-conscious about it?

Either way, here’s an article about bloggers & press protections: Are bloggers journalists?


Bernie 02.07.05 at 1:23 am

Eszter — great idea. It’s nice to see such a variety of viewpoints.

I teach high school English — and each of my classes maintains a “group” blog — where each student is an author.. Feel free to check out an example:

Because they are all on the same blog — students find commenting on each other’s posts less tedious.

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