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Muhlenberg College Instructional Design Newsletter  

To Learn More

For ideas and best practices for using blogs in your teaching, contact Alexandra Herb at 484.664.4057 or

For technical assistance or Blackboard technical support, contact the
Faculty Support Help desk at 484.664.3566 or

Click here for instructions to set up your own Blackboard blog.

Blackboard Blog Formats
Group Blog
All group members (some of the enrolled students) can post entries. Any course member can view entries and make
comments. When a grade is assigned for a Group Blog, the grade is automatically given to all members in the group.

A Course Blog
All enrolled users are able to post entries. If it is graded, a grade is assigned to an
individual member an applied only to that member.

An Individual Blog
Only the blog owner (one student per blog) is able to post entries. All class members can view and post
comments. If it is graded, the grade is assigned to individual members and applied only to that individual.


OIT Spotlight
Over the summer, OIT installed and upgraded more than 250 wireless access points campus wide. There are now more than 450 access points throughout campus. 100% wireless coverage is available on campus.

For more information, see the Instructional Technology blog at


Interactive Features of Blackboard: Blogging

Would you like to enhance student engagement and critical thinking both in and out of the classroom? The newest version of Blackboard has several features that can assist with asynchronous discussion and reflection. One of these features is a blog. A blog, or web log, is a form of journaling through which the author can share thoughts for others’ comments.

A blog can be a powerful learning tool. The process of constructing and evaluating knowledge while creating a blog post allows students to engage in higher order thinking. By reading the work of peers, students see models for writing and thinking.

Blogging can provide an opportunity for participation and an audience for student writing. When others interact with an individual’s posts, a blog can become a forum for discussion. A blog can also offer an opportunity for students to share diverse perspectives.

On Campus

Here on campus, faculty members are using blogs to support learning both in and out of the classroom. Several departments, faculty members, organizations, and committees maintain blogs. Many of these blogs were created using a tool called WordPress that allows blogs to be shared with an audience beyond the class. Through Blackboard or Moodle, blogs can be created that are exclusively shared between the members of a specific class.

Professor Helen Bachochin has created a blog using Blackboard to provide language practice and discussion for her Intermediate Spanish I students. Professor Bachochin has asked her students to explain their experiences related to weekly chapter topics. Students are encouraged to practice informal written expression using pertinent vocabulary. Professor Bachochin plans to later post articles and videos from Spanish news for student debate. She has used her own comments to model correct grammar and to encourage interaction between students.

The members of Intermediate Spanish I have reported that they enjoy this informal and enjoyable opportunity to practice writing in Spanish. Professor Bachochin is encouraged by the level of participation and hopeful for the continued success of the activity.

Blogging Tips

1. Start with one classroom blog. This will allow for a steady stream of postings and comments.

2. Provide a clear model for students before they begin. Highlight effective strategies or concepts used in your model.

3. Provide a topic with a clear description. Because a blog is about conversation, to be effective, the blog must have a defined purpose that is closely monitored.

4. Define grading expectations. Define your expectations for depth, content, and style.

5. Use comments to provide meaningful feedback. Encourage students to comment on one another’s postings. Comments can foster cognitive scaffolding by allowing students to revisit their learning, build on prior knowledge, and explore topics more-deeply.

6. Set boundaries for the use of appropriate language, topics, and grading (not as to inhibit exploration or creativity, but to create a setting through which it can be fostered).

Access Blackboard from Your Mobile Device
Blackboard is accessible for Apple iPad and iPhone. Follow these steps to install Blackboard on your iOS device:

1. Go to Apple App Store.
2. Search for "Blackboard Mobile Learn."
3. Select appropriate app for your device. (iPhone or iPad)
4. Tap "Free."
5. Tap "Install APP."
6. Enter password when prompted.

(Be sure you are connected through the wireless network)
7. After app has been installed, select the Bb app icon.
8. Enter "muh" in "Search for your school text box."
9. Tap "Muhlenberg College."
10. Enter your Blackboard username and password. (Set Remember Me to ON if you don't want to login each time)
11. Tap "Login."