Blogs are naturally social tools. Whether its audience is local or global in scope, a blog comes to life when used to share ideas and start conversations. Publishing posts and pages on a blog is easy and quick, and commenting allows for an audience interaction.
Who gets to see and use a blog can be easily customized. Blogs feature two settings, "users" and "privacy," that together determine who can write on a blog and who can see it—allowing a blog to serve a variety of different Georgetown needs.
Blogs can be creatively repurposed for other needs as well. Websites, ePortfolios, and research showcases are all legitimate uses for blog software. A few tweaks with the default settings make a blog into another type of site.
Course blogs are one of the most popular uses for blogs at Georgetown. Created for either a single semester or extended use, a course blog offers students a responsive, user-friendly social system for interacting beyond the classroom. When set to "members only," it provides a safe, private extension for classroom conversation; when set to "public," it gives students the opportunity to engage with their classmates (and even others) in a public space. Heather Voke, for example, has a very active public class blog where students post on issues of education and social justice.
When used to reflect on research, blogs can become part of a working group's or individual scholar's workflow. Research blogs are characterized by their use as a place to store and share documents, drafts, and reflections related an academic project. Outside the classroom, thesis writers from a number of different departments, for example, have used research blogs to share their research and research process with their classmates. And in Professor Luciano's class, students used a research blog like Meaghan's to build (and reflect on building) a scholarly edition of a collection of primary sources that they they read in their class.
As students participate in practicums, internships, or other learning experiences outside the classroom, they are often asked to write short reflection papers. By using an internship blog instead of a simple reflection paper, students can share their experiences with classmates participating in similar experiences outside the classroom. Settings can be customized to allow for limited access inside a select group of participants, addressing concerns of privacy. Students in Janet Russell's Biology of Drugs and People class, for example, shared a community teaching blog to track their experiences and share their lesson plans as they spent time teaching in the community.