Despite the spread of blogs in mass media and in academia, little scholarly work has explored their use within the journalism and mass communication curriculum. This study, based on incorporation of blogs in ten classes during five semesters -- undergraduate and graduate, skills and conceptual -- examines student use of the format in relation to theories of social and blended learning. Findings suggest that although students tend to approach blogging as yet another assignment, blogs facilitate their engagement with course material and one another. Blogging has become an integral job component for growing numbers of journalists and other mass communication professionals,(FN1) attracting increasing amounts of interest from media scholars. Similarly, class weblogs (or "edublogs") and other options for online student discourse are being incorporated in university courses;(FN2) a separate but also steadily expanding body of work considers their impact on pedagogy, including perceptions about blogs by journalism educators.(FN3) But to date, there has been little exploration of blogs' use in classes aimed at preparing future journalists for entering the participatory media environment. Thus, few data concern how, or even whether, blogs fit into the journalism and mass communication curriculum. This article seeks to address the gap by presenting findings from the author's use of blogs in ten journalism and mass communication classes during five semesters. It examines student use of blogs in relation to specific class outcomes and broader educational goals, within the context of contemporary pedagogical theory and media trends. In particular, it suggests the potential value of blogs as part of a "blended learning" approach to journalism education.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jane_singer/5/