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Posts Tagged ‘Blogging in classroom’

In both 2011 and 2012 I presented a continuing education workshop at the annual meeting of the American Accounting Association.  The title of my workshop is, “Using Social Media in the Classroom.”

Using blogs in a classroom is a very good vehicle for students to practice their critical thinking skills.  Critical thinking can be exercised through analyzing what another person says, or using its principles to structure commentaries or essays for a more profound impact.

In my most recent workshop, a few of the participants mentioned their intention to have students write blog posts for class.  I agree that this is an excellent way for students to practice the use of writing for professional expression.

But let’s think about the strategic placement of writing blog posts.  Should this be done in a single course or throughout an educational program?

In my opinion, the benefit from writing comes from repeatedly having to do it over a longer period of time.  For sure, there is some benefit from having a student write an isolated paper.  That benefit, though, is limited mostly to learning more about the topic of the paper.  Having a student write only a single paper does not help him or her work on strengthening writing and/or critical thinking skills.  Developing and strengthening such skills takes repeated practice by the student and insightful feedback from the professor.

Such practice and feedback can occur either in a single course if it is dedicated to blogging, or throughout the entirety of an educational program if it is incorporated into every course.  Today’s e-mail brings notice of the University of Calgary incorporating blogging throughout the entirety of a graduate education program.  Students are expected to write blog posts in every course they take.  Wow!

Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton writes the following in her blog post at Literacy, Languages and Leadership, “12 Tips to Incorporate Blogging into Your Classes.”

In a recent Master’s of Education course I taught at the University of Calgary, blogging was a required assignment for the students. The program coordinator (my boss) urged me to have the students blog as part of their course. She let me know that the students were enrolled in a graduate certificate program and that the course I was teaching was the first course of their certificate. She said that the certificate had been set up so that students would blog throughout their entire learning experience, as part of every course in their certificate.

I’ve heard some business professors mention that blogging might simply be incorporated as a component of their school’s course in business communications.  I, however, think the benefit is much greater if using the approach employed at the University of Calgary.

Eaton’s blog post, “12 Tips to Incorporate Blogging into Your Classes,” serves as a useful reminder of implementation issues once the decision has been made to go ahead with blogging over a longer period of time.  Students will need a blog site (I recommend WordPress.com). Although there are many issues, Eaton provides advice on the basics.  It’s worth a read.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


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It is late March and windy in Chicago.  It must be that I’m attending the annual conference for MBAA International at the historic Drake Hotel.

The MBAA conference annual draws about 800 academics from the areas of finance, accounting, international business, marketing, management, legal studies, information systems, economics, operations management and entrepreneurship, case research, and BSG (business society and government).  As you might imagine, I’m here for accounting.

I like coming to the NAAS portion of the MBAA conference.  There are only 80 accounting academics in attendance, but they all are really cool (especially TF).

This post is about my presentation, titled:

If you want, you can view my presentation slides.

Should professors be using blogging in the classroom? Duhhhh, yes.  Blogging should be used in any class where the professor wants to accomplish anything other than memorization for multiple choice tests.  It is not uncommon for teachers to use blogging in elementary education classes.  If second graders can handle it, then college students should be able to.

A professor does not need to be a blogger to use blogging in the classroom.

Why use blogging?  For many reasons, but here are two.  First, it’s a social media world.  College students that can do anything with SM other than Facebook are at a premium.  Accounting and law firms use social media and blogging.  Obtaining SM proficiency gives students a leg up when they graduate.  Second, it’s such an easy tool to use if you want students to do anything more than memorize.

There are four ways to use blogging in the classroom:

  1. Professor can transmit useful content to students.  Blogging is a great platform for writing informative essays.
  2. Professors can introduce a provocative issue in a blog post, and require students to make comments.  The first student reacts to what the professor wrote.  Each successive student reacts to what both the professor and previous commenting students wrote.  It is a great way to achieve a group thinking environment.
  3. Professors can assign students to write their own blog posts, and then publish them to the student’s own blog or to a group blog.  This is a great way for a student to learn what others in the class are thinking.
  4. Professors can assign blog essays that are published and available on the web, and then students can write their analysis of or reaction to that essay.  These can be submitted online or via paper.

There are three types of blogs and blog posts:

  1. Informative or news.  The purpose of these types of blogs is to pass along news tidbits.  A great example in tax is the TaxProf, by Paul Caron.  He gets about 7,000,000 hits per year.  I asked another tax professor if he reads TaxProf, and he responded that he does on a daily basis.  I then asked him if he has his students read TaxProf.  He said no.  No?  By the way, Professor Caron makes the Accounting Today list of 100 most influential people in the American accounting world.
  2. Commentary or editorial.  Most bloggers have an opinion and they want to persuade readers.  Having students read, analyze and react to these commentaries is a great way to introduce students to developing professional values.  So often professors never ask students what they think.  This is a great way of doing so.  In the study of liberal arts, critical thinking is defined as reading, analyzing and reacting. A great example of this in the accounting area is the Accounting Onion, by Tom Selling.
  3. Lifestyle, or welcome to my life.  Students don’t yet know what it is like to be working as an accountant.  A blog focused on the young accountant’s working environment is a great way of showing students what the working world of accounting is like.  Examples are Accountant by Day (working accountant), and Pondering the Classroom (accounting professor).

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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