Whether it’s for travel, school, personal or networking reasons, the Internet makes blogging an exciting new way to document thoughts or share adventures with loved ones. At Keene State College, some professors are making it part of their curriculum to use blogs in the classroom.
“I’m using them to organize student writing,” the English Department Chair, Mark Long, said. Long continued, “My blogs seem to be more oriented towards my classes. They tend to be oriented toward fostering professional conversations.” English Professor Kirsti Sandy said that she has also used blogs in her classes before. “[Students] had to think about the theme that they wanted or the idea and then design it,” Sandy said. According to junior Mia Gauthier, it’s not only English professors using blogs in their teaching curriculum. “I have never used a blog until this year for my Principles of Marketing class. The course requires the students to keep a blog throughout the semester, by posting two blogs a week,” Gauthier said. Gauthier said that using blogs in her marketing class isn’t helpful for her. “For the class, the blogs are required to stay on topic with what we are learning, but I feel that it does not achieve this,” Gauthier continued, “A blog is not for everyone, even if it’s required [by the professor]. I feel that some people don’t like openly expressing their opinions, especially through a public website.”
Another student in Gauthier’s class, junior Jade Brulotte, said, “The blogs are useful because they help you connect with the other students and share opinions and ideas outside of the classroom.” Long commented, “You have an audience, anyone can read it, and I love that idea. Because then when you write something you’re not just writing it for a professor and turning it in. It makes the audience more real, that’s why I use it for teaching.”
Aside from classroom work, blogs are a great place where people can just write, Long said. “It’s just another place to write and to get your work essentially published, so that’s what I think it’s great for,” Long said. Sandy said for students interested in being published, they must take care with what they post on blogs. “Essays and publications and journals have this notation under submission guidelines that said anything that has been published before, even in a personal blog, cannot be considered for publication. Not every journal does that, but a lot of them do,” Sandy said. Sandy added that once these blogs are deleted there is no longer an issue with the publication of your writing that you previously self-published on your blog. “I have been very cautious since that time and my blogs are out there somewhere but they’re set to private,” Sandy said.
“I think that people who do this [write blogs] are opening up more possibilities for sharing writing and sharing ideas that traditional publishing has always allowed,” Sandy continued, “I really wish there could be more of a connection and not so much of a dismissing of blogs from print culture.” Long said that most blogs that people set up and don’t write in afterwards happen because they don’t have a subject to write about. “I think the best blogs, the ones that are fun to read, are the ones with somebody who has an agenda,” Long said. He gave examples such as place blogs, including one of a friend who keeps a blog on her day-to-day life and about what’s interesting it her. “She’d write stories about the trees or she’d write stories about the physical plant or she’d write stories about an event that happened. It’s neat. A place blog, a travel blog, those are important,” Long said.
According to sixrevisions.com the most popular blogging website is WordPress.com, which is what Long uses in his classes, and Tumblr was number six of the most popular blogging websites.
Long commented, “Tumblr is a lot of reblogging or connecting, it is a form of writing but it’s different than the kind of writing where you’re doing more reflecting.” Senior Max Moran said he uses Tumblr over other blogging sites because of its increasing popularity. “I like how I can like and reblog my friends work and/or reblog what they are reblogging so other people can reblog that,” Moran said. Like most Tumblr users, Moran said, “Once in awhile I’ll write a smirk worthy thing or two to post up but not too often, I’ll mostly reblog photos from funny blogs I follow. Long pointed out how KSC alumni are using blogs to document how they’re utilizing their degrees. On the Keene State College website under the English Department News, Long said, “Adam Hogue [English 2011] is teaching English in Gwangju, South Korea, and keeps a blog (a weblog) about his travels in Korea and Southeast Asia.”
Other KSC alumni keeping blogs include Val Snowdon, 2005. She is in the Peace Corps in Jamaica and updates her site with entries about their work.
Megan Grenier can be contacted at