I like to create multiple ways for students to share, interact, and communicate in online courses. We use Moodle in our department (Boise State Department of Educational Technology). As Moodle continues to evolve, with its active community of developers, I am discovering new ways to create more seamless and even public interaction.
Moodle has always included built-in blogs, which can be set to be course and even page-related. So, if you want your students to easily post to a course blog, you can do this. Or, if you want them to post to their blog about a certain page, you can do that too. And, you can always post site-wide to a Moodle installation.
Another neat feature in the Moodle blogging toolset is the ability to register an external blog and then set certain tag filters to automatically post to your Moodle blog. This creates a super-easy way to share posts you’ve written to your blog automatically to your Moodle site. I’m using this post as an example of how to do this.
(Note: You may need to confirm with your Moodle administrator that the blogging feature has been enabled, along with the registering of external blogs.)
First of all, you will need to register your blog, which requires you add the feed URL. Go to your Moodle profile settings and select “Register an external blog.”
Then, add the FEED URL of your blog to the required information and add a filter tag to send any posts with this tag to your Moodle blog. You can also designate if you want your Moodle blog to contain certain tags, too, which will enable filtering on the Moodle site of blog posts.
Click “Save changes” and then navigate to your blog to create a new post, using the Filter tags you specified when you created an external blog. Publish your post and then you should be able to view that on the Moodle site. (Note: There may be a delay based upon how often your Moodle cron jobs are set up–I believe about 24 hours for Moodle to detect new posts on an external blog.)
So, your students might simply want to post to their own blogs and use their filter tags to automatically send to their Moodle blogs.
I think this is a powerful feature, and something that maybe many instructors and course designers might not be aware of. I highly recommend trying out and using blogs in Moodle courses, as an alternative to discussion forums. Of course, if you want to grade discussions, then Moodle blogs are not the choice, as they cannot be rated/graded.
Let me know about your experiences with using the blogging tools in Moodle and also the external blog feature.