Fascinating post from John Kruper’s The electric lyceum blog about relative advantages of blogs and CMSs like Blackboard. He makes the point that blogging as a course management tool actually represents a major paradigm shift:
And so we see why educators are so excited by blogs. For the first time, they have an easy-to-use tool that provides them and their students an authentic voice in the online classroom previously dominated by syllabi and class notes. And equally important, this newfound voice isn’t a glued-on afterthought one finds by jumping out to the “class bulletin board,” but rather is an equal citizen to the professor’s powerpoint slide, word document, and other forms of traditional “course content.” What on one had sounds insanely trivial is in fact a paradigm shift in online learning environments: blogs empower students to be co-publishers of the course and to easily comment on, react to, and debate any (teacher or student) contributed element.
However the traditional systems like Blackboard are much better at easily managing courses and the co-ordination aspects on line learning processes, ie. providing course information, integrated email lists etc.
With the rising buzz about blogs in education they will probably be introduced as an add on to traditional CMS software at some time in the not too distant future. However for the moment dual occupancy seems the way to go: handling admin matters in Blackboard, which provides the course interface across all university courses, and blogs as the primary learning environment because of its flexibility and student focus.