Chris Lott writes about blogging and incorporating it as a portfolio tool. Blogging is positioned perfectly for the reflective educator. The entire move toward reflective writing in portfolios is more suited toward blogging as an instructional technology tool.
The problem is that it takes more than one class/quarter/semester to start becoming a proficient denizen of the socially networked community. One-off uses are not enough—just when students are starting to make the connections themselves, and just when they are starting to have their own personal “AHA!” moments, the plug gets pulled and they may not encounter such an educational environment again for another term or two (or ever).
What we need to do is rethink our curriculum in terms of interaction, create a consistent, generic toolset that supports the needs of the students and instructors, and instill community practices from end-to-end in the curriculum. I have in mind something like the idea of the portfolio, which spans semesters and houses explicity artifacts, within which would be integrated discussion, blogging, and wikis tied to that student’s identity throughout their academic career. Top-down LMS like Blackboard are exactly the wrong answer because the social tools (I’m being generous with the plural here) are pathetic, locked down, and not created to go beyond the instance of a single semester or course. Blackboard provides some very useful tools, and these should remain (the gradebook, a house for static content), but they are really two tiny pieces in a much larger and more complex puzzle in which the authentic success of our students is at stake.