CTLT Dialogues

The Blog of the Center for Teaching & Learning with Technology

Blogging for Dollars

Posted by ctlt on May 22, 2008

The second presentation of the day was “Blogging for Dollars: An Engaging Student Activity,” presented by Jonathan Goodman, of FDU’s Silberman College. Jonathan teaches e-Business classes for the Entrepreneurial Studies program. His goal is to teach students how to use advertising and marketing tools available (particularly from Google) to make money online.

Jonathan discussed how the introduction of Web 2.0 resources has changed the Web from something of a passive medium for receiving information, into an interactive medium, through which each person’s “voice” may be heard. His particular interest for the day’s presentation was Web logging, the creation of blogs. There are several different types of blogs, either personal or corporate, and involving different media types (such as photologs, video blogs (or vlogs), sketchlogs, linklogs, tumblelogs, in addition to the traditional, more text-oriented blogs). Blogs differ from Web pages because they are easy to update, easy to syndicate (using RSS, for example) and easy for visitors to contribute by posting their own comments.

There are various blog software platforms available, and students can create their own blogs for free at sites such as Blogger or WordPress.

For his course, Jonathan assigns a project requiring his students to create their own individual blogs. They choose their own subjects, build their blogs, and install Google’s advertising application and Google’s analytical program. These tools enable students to add revenue-generating advertisements to their sites and to track the way visitors come to their sites and use what’s on their sites. Other tools that help bloggers market their blogs are AddThis, to make it easier for visitors to bookmark and share information on blogs, and Google Alerts, which automatically emails subscribers with information about the latest Google searches based on query words or topics that subscribers have identified as of interest to them.

Jonathan compared user records for the blogs of the top two performers in his class, in order to explain in more detail how he compared the degree to which their blogs were successful in attracting visitors and whether those visitors made return visits to the blogs.

Jonathan also discussed sites that support searching for blogs on topics of interest for users and showed us how to use them. The most prominent blog search engine is Technorati. Another favorite tool is the aggregator site Bloglines, which lets users subscribe to syndicated blogs.

Jonathan’s Powerpoint presentation is available here.


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