Tolisano created the following diagram to illustrate how each of these strategies are supported through blogging:
It is important to note that the four learning activities supported by blogging are precisely the same activities that have long been designed into distance learning courses delivered by a learning management system like Blackboard or Moodle.
However, among the advantages of using WordPress as a platform for this course rather than an LMS are that WordPress allows for a wider reach and greater possibility of community engagement both during and after you have completed the course and you are able to control and retain ownership of your own content. Instead of logging into a ‘secure’, protected course space where your only audience is the instructor and a few others who may be taking the course at the same time, you will create and control your own space which can be as open or closed as you want it to be. By ‘opening’ your thoughts to as wide an audience as you feel comfortable, you have unlimited potential to build, share, and learn best practices with others.
Blackstone and Harwood (2010) outline several points in a rationale for using blogging tools in university courses. Blogging:
- encourages interaction outside ‘the classroom’ and beyond class time.
- supports both individual and interpersonal interaction.
- engages students in the writing process.
- enhances critical thinking and learner autonomy.
- exposes students to new situations, peers, and experts.
- facilitates collaboration in a community of learners.
Of particular interest is the idea that blogging promotes learner autonomy, or learner agency. In independent study courses, it is vital that students take responsibility for their learning and have meaningful input into their learning experiences. By focusing the interaction both within the learner (reflection) and outside the learner and the learning environment, learners are necessarily more autonomous.