Documentation:Student Toolkit/Blogs

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after J. Howard Miller

Blogs are discussion or informational sites published on the Internet and consist mostly of posts typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Blogs are maintained by one or more persons through regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. UBCBlogs supports a WordPress platform for student and faculty blogs at UBC.

Blogs can be authored by an individual or a group, and usually address a particular theme or serve a purpose. More recently "multi-author blogs" have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and professionally edited. Blogs have moved to the mainstream due to platforms such as Tumblr, Medium and, especially, Wordpress, where any person with access to a computer and internet can create their own webpage without a need to understand html or coding, as blogs create easy-to-use interfaces that manages much of this for the user.


Why Would I Use a Blog?

As a student, you may be asked to create a blog for a class or you may just want to start one to document your reflections about university life. Blogs can be used to:

  • document your reflections
  • showcase your work (like a portfolio)
  • engage with people who share a commons interest with you.

More on:

What Can I Blog About?

  • Your learning: blogs can be used as an informal tool for reflecting on important points brought up in lectures and used to improve your analytical thinking skills by facilitating a discussion with friends or classmates
  • Your life and your particular point of view at this point in your time on earth.
  • Your work: blogging can be a great medium for facilitating discussion on artwork or media content you have created or developed
  • Your interests: blogging allows you to express yourself, your thoughts, and your unique personality to create an online identity and presence

Examples

  • Blogs as portfolios:
  • Blogs for discussion/reflection:

5 Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Do I have a topic that is clear, focused, and interesting to me? These tips for choosing a topic may help you pick a theme for your blog.
  2. Is my writing voice effectively portraying the feel and look I want my blog to have? Copybloggers offers some steps to finding your "voice" as a blogger. offer a start.
  3. Have a thought about my digital identity and what I want to contribute (or keep private)? Visit UBC's Digital Tattoo to find out more about protecting your privacy and preserving your online integrity.
  4. Have I set a realistic standard for the frequency I will update my blog to ensure I do not disappoint the people following my blog? Jeff, Goins, writer and blogger, talks about the discipline of blogging. And remember, managing your blog isn't just about your writing, it's managing comments, updating your theme, linking to sources, responding to comments and generally keeping things running smoothly on your site.
  5. Have I effectively networked my blog with other bloggers to facilitate diverse conversation and feedback for my blog posts? Learn how to build a network with these suggestions to take your blog to the next level by connecting with more readers.

5 Steps to Getting Started

Resources For Getting Started

  • UBCBlogs - Sign Up.
  • Ethan YVR: An excellent getting started "How-to" for UBCBlogs from the Web Communications Coordinator at the Faculty of Land & Food Systems, UBC-V
  • UBCBlogs FAQs - Some pretty basic help for getting started.
  • First Steps With WordPress - Wordpress.org (Note that UBC has its own installation and some features that are referenced on .org will not be available to you. It's a good place to go to learn about WordPress, though!)
  • WordPress 101: a series of videos that will help you learn how to do things on your blog.

Resources & Support

If you are blogging for a class or project, the place to start with questions is with your Instructor or project lead.