Another advantage of the ongoing course blog is that it really foregrounds both blog literacy and wider cyber-literacy as an important ongoing course objective.
One of the aims of using blogs in educational settings must actually be about the process itself, in some sense all education is about both content and process and all educational technologies (from face to face to computer mediated) are about learning to learn.
In the same way that one of the aims of encouraging good essay writing is about helping students to develop expressive skills that they will apply in a range of different ways in a professional or personal context, one of the aims of blogging ought to be to encourage cyber-literacy and an understanding of the ecology of the link in a networked society.
This is particularly important for journalism students. All forms of major media now have online presences and future journalists will need to be increasingly cyber-literate. Many traditional media forms are also specifically incorporating blogs, so skills in this form will advantage students in their future practice. (For an interesting and humorous take on blogs as the future of journalism check out John Hiler’s, Borg Journalism: We are the Blogs. Journalism will be Assimilated.)
Even if, as future journalists, they are never called upon to write “blog journalism”, the internet research skills and practice of assessing, organising and archiving internet information sources, essential to good blogging, are also now essential to good journalism.
But this is not just restricted to journalism students, blogs, wikkis and intranet sites are also fast becoming part of good business practice in a range of situations and students from all sorts of disciplines will need to know how to operate convincingly in these virtual work environments.