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October 11, 2008  |  Blog Class, Part 2  |  6400 hit(s)

What exactly do you teach in a class about blogging? As I said in the last post, we just don’t know what the students will already know and what they hope to learn. Our best guess for this first class is that the student:
  • Has some notion of what blogging is, but
  • Has not blogged before, and
  • Wants to start blogging for a job or business (i.e., "in a professional context"), and
  • Wants some guidance on tools and techniques for starting.
I mean, ya gotta start with a persona of some sort, right?

Thus I’ve come up with the following as a very high-level outline:
  • Introduction to blogs – anatomy, examples.
  • Purpose of professional blogging – why people blog in the non-feelings-and-kitties sense.
  • Setting up a blog – planning, research, blog engines, how-to.
  • Writing for professional blogs - topics, writing conventions, ideas, tips (dos and don’ts).
  • Comments, links, and feeds – protocols (and mechanics) for dealing with comments, same for links. All about feeds and trackbacks[1].
  • Blog ethics, etc. – ethical and legal considerations for professional blogs.
  • Measuring success – comments, traffic, referrers.
A couple of things I’m not intending to cover in the 6-hour class: search-engine optimization and keyword strategies, and monetizing a blog. If the class is ever expanded into the long version, those would be suitable topics. Or, as might happen, if it turns out that people in the class don’t need a lot of detail about some of the other stuff in the proposed outline.

I have exercises or activities planned for all of these areas. I’ve requested that we get a computer-equipped classroom so that the students can do all this hands-on. (I sure hope they don’t have to just watch me, gah, how uninteresting that would be.)

It seems like the class really should focus a lot on the writing angle – this is, as noted, an offering in the tech-writing program. I’ve therefore been careful to plan activities that involve both analyzing blog writing and, of course, actually writing stuff. I’m not quite sure how this will work out, of course. But it could be fun.

Next time: contradictory guidelines.

[1] It’s my perception, actually, that trackbacks are waning (gone?), due to irreconcilable spam problems. I need to look into just how gone they really are.