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Moodle 1.6 blog

I needed to figure out how blogs work in Moodle http://moodle.org. An instructor asked me how would be best to have students work on an assignment, then submit their assignment for grade, and later post comments about each other's work. My initial thought was that assignments could be submitted with the Assignment activity. Then an instructor could grade them and later make them available in the instructor's blog for commenting. Looking into this more, I found that this would not work well.

There are two main reason's blog's are tricky to use in Moodle:

  • You cannot limit access to the Blog based solely on the class. Access could be limited site wide, essentially University wide, or entries could be made public.
  • Moodle blogs currently do not allow commenting.

There is a long discussion on Moodle blogs that were introduced into Moodle with version 6 here: http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=44830 (you will need to have registered at the Moodle site to read this discussion) and http://docs.moodle.org/en/Blogs_and_forums . The primary concern with adding commenting to Moodle blogs was that with commenting Moodle blogs would be too much like discussion forums. Then the question becomes on how to have a blog well integrated into Moodle that does not take away from features that blogs provide (commenting being one of the main ones).

Now that have learned that I cannot use blogs for this purpose, I am going to recommend using a discussion forum for letting students comment on each others' work. This should work OK as forum is limited to a class and allows commenting. An instructor can make an initial entry by posting a student's work and then ask other students to discuss it.

An alternative to using a forum would be to use a wiki. I considered this, but saw two challenges with that. Wikis require students to become used to a new syntax which can be a little too big of a burden for simply commenting. Instructor and students would have to agree on the format of the wiki and adhere to this format throughout the creation of the document.

Comments

Interesting post. Have you considered Google apps for blogging and wikis? Would this be a consideration within Moodle?

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