Blogs and Social Media – Blending social & academic worlds

Social Networking, defined by Gunawardena et al (2009) as the “practice of expanding knowledge by making connections with individuals of similar interests” is a potentially powerful tool for both Post-Secondary Faculty and the K-12 classroom teacher. Through this networking, students are afforded the opportunity to co-create knowledge within a Community of Practice (Wenger et al, 2002). Further, a recent study conducted by Junco et al (2013) found that “the design of teaching strategies and practices related to virtual engagement and collaboration is instrumental to achieving positive educational outcomes (when using Twitter)” (p.285) and that instructor participation was one key to successful implementation and an increase in student engagement.

Considering Blogging or other Social Networking to enhance teaching and learning? Learn more by downloading the handout and/or visit this week’s Sandbox Session!


Questions to consider:

  • What is the purpose for your use of social networking technologies?
  • Do you wish to moderate a discussion?
  • Do you plan to infuse it into various aspects of class?
  • Student sharing of their insights, reflections
  • Co-creation of content or ideas?
  •  Sharing of links to content, references, resources
  •  Connection with the greater community? Experts?
  • How involved do you wish to be?
  • What affordances and level of control do you need or require?
  • How public or private do you wish this space to be?
  •  Can you adjust privacy settings of your chosen digital technology?
  • Will students want or need access to this space after the course is complete?

Some places to start:

Blog: Consider setting up a classroom blog where students can reflect on discussion questions, key concepts or images. Consider providing students with their own blog space within the classroom space where they can extend their learning, upload assignments, share their own ideas, thoughts, creations.

UBC Blogs – WordPress  a simple site for student blogs; teacher can set up accounts; no identifying student info or emails required!


  • Online encyclopedia
  • Crowd-sourced information and content co-creation
  • Constant evolution/revision
  • May have ‘editors’ to verify content

UBC Wiki



Discussion Forum

  • Group discussion forum
  • Often ‘closed’ or invite only
  • Threaded discussion on a topic(s)

Test out the Discussion feature of your LMS –Connect


  • Traditionally shorter entries than a typical blog
  • Most micro-blogging platforms have word count or character limits
  • Often sharing quick snapshot, link or image


About Yvonne Dawydiak

@yvonnedtechtalk UBC Teacher Education Technology Integration Mentor | MET Manager MET Graduate Enviro-interested non-profit director -
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