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Competition – Design a Blogging Course

I just got home from a graduation ceremony – my graduation ceremony – I finally finished my Bachelor of Theology and have a piece of paper to prove it.

During the ceremony to keep myself awake I started to wonder what a course in Blogging would look like – a Bachelor of Blogging. I thought it would make an interesting ‘Open Mike’ post where we all submit our answers. I’ll give a prize to the best answer.

If you were to enroll in a course about blogging what would you want it to include as core subjects, electives, assignments etc.

If you’re ‘beyond’ enrolling in a course yourself – how would you teach it if you were designing a syllabus? What would be essential reading? Who would be your guest lecturers (and what would you ask them to speak on)? What subjects would be central? How would you grade students?

Get a little creative with your answers if you like and submit them via comments below or post it on your own blog and leave a link in comments to it below.

Prize – I’ll award my favourite answer with a link in my menu to your blog for a week or so (ok its not much but it is better than nothing). Competition closes Monday – Aussie time.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Duncan says:

    Firstly, I’d hope not to compete for a link and I’d hope I’d get one anyway, but I’ll spill the beans none the less. I’m quite the experienced Uni student, but I never actually completed a course, although I hope to graduate at the end of this year (and congrats on the Theology course, I’d love to discuss it 1 on 1 at some stage). When I was young (ie when I left school class of 93) I enrolled in a BA (the marks for Law were to high, it was the peak of the recession) at Sydney Uni which I only lasted in for a year, I left mainly because of money, because I could earn a lot of money if I wasn’t studying (I joined a merchant bank). The BA did teach me a lot about reading and the richness of Western writing. I later moved to QLD (I lived there for 2 years) and I had a job that also enabled me to study full time, and I did 2 years of a B. Business in marketing/ information systems. It gave me a great understanding of marketing, but more importantly I learnt how to pull apart a computer and most of all I did a whole subject on SQL, which strangely enough has been more useful than you’ll ever know. I then met a WA girl, moved across the country to WA and didn’t study for another 2 years, when I then re-enrolled as an external student, part time, through UNE in 2000 (Armidale, NSW) for a B.Commerce degree in Marketing/ E-Commerce ( received some credits from my previous study). This year they’ve changed the course to Marketing/ E-Business. I must admit I cruised through a lot of the E-Commerce type subjects literally because I’ve been there, done that in first person during the 90′s. This year, all subjects passed, I will graduate (at 30) early next year. I mention all because I honestly believe that my mixture of studies are the best combination in any blogging degree that may be offered in the future. Such a degree should offer:
    Arts/ Literature: the history of writing and how to write
    Information Systems: how computers work, including everything from building a computer through to programming one in basic form for example SQL which is always relevant in blogging, PHP, HTML and others
    ECommerce: how affiliate programs work, money on the internet, merchant accounts, general e-commerce etc
    E-Business: how to promote an E-Business, ethics, business groups and models, business planning etc..
    but the most important of all, in my books:
    MARKETING: the whole study of marketing.

    Why marketing? well I’m the first to admit that a lot in marketing is all talk, but understanding how marketing works gives anyone a good understanding how any commerce works. I was fortunate that my father was in small business and growing up I got to understand what worked and what didn’t. The study of marketing may well be “wanky” (apologies for language, I don’t know how else to describe it) at times, but its the best knowledge anyone can know, particularly if you’re not from a marketing background or if you dont have on the ground experience in the subject.

    So, my B. Blogging: Arts/ Marketing/ E-Commerce/ E-Business/ Marketing.
    No Journalism some may ask? Well any good marketing course should cover journalism.

  2. Paul says:

    Bachelor of Theology? You are a man with many talents!

  3. Duncan says:

    I’ve got to ask on a personal note, what denomination are you?

  4. Well, Duncan’s got the right idea and has stolen a lot of my thunder. I think blogging requires a well-rounded person, so liberal arts degree seems pretty smart. To be more specific, I see three areas of importance: Writing, marketing and technology. I’d suggest a course-load in all three, though it would need to be specific to what a blogger needs to know.

    I don’t think a blogger needs to have a ton of tech skills. They don’t need to know how to code C++ or Java or PHP, though those skills might help. I’m talking basic tech skills like HTML, how to use a program like Dreamweaver, how to FTP stuff. Most important would be grasping how a coding language works, how you can build a site with templates and databases and how it all might go together–not so much that you could build it, but that you could confidentally discuss it with a techie you might hire to do it for you.

    Marketing and business know how would be important to set up a business and make sure it pays off. Being a writing major, I didn’t get an ounce of business know-how and I think it cost me. Before I started my freelance career (well, mid-stride) I had to slow down and take some small business courses. Very helpful. I wish I could take more.

    And finally writing. What is blogging if not writing? I’m talking everything from grammar skills (sigh, we could all use help there) to practice, practice, practice.

    Some other random courses on philosophy (to help build thinking skills) as well as ethics might not be a bad idea, either.

    Essential reading would include getting an RSS reader and subscribing to a pile of blogs. I might even give pop quizzes on what’s being talked about in the blogosphere. (I knew business majors in college who had the Wall Street Journal as required reading, so this seems fair)

    I’d also require students to blog. No time like the present. It could probably be any type of blog they want, but the expectation would be they have to stick with it through the entire program. It could be personal, chronicling their experience in the program, or it could be about lunch. Whatever, as long as they blog. (Maybe the smart ones could pay for their schooling with the assignment)

    Guest speakers would probably be the obvious–a famous blogger or two. Maybe get someone like Dan Rather to speak about why blogs are important. ;-) I think it’d also be good to hear from someone in a more traditional role who sees blogging as an extra that will add on to, but not supplant traditional types of media, be that person a journalist or a business person.

    All righty, I’ve rambled enough.

  5. dirvish says:

    The first thing you would want to do is have every student create their own class blog (on blogger or have a uni server setup w/ a blogging app installed) and blog about the class as part of their homework. You could then create a directory of the class blogs (past and present) so that students can interact (comment) with their fellow students through the blogs.

    Then you would want to start out with the history of blogging and the blogging culture that has developed. This would include historical blogging tools, landmark blogging events (like when bloggers have shaped the world/news), and the blogging ethics & etiquette that seems to have naturally evolved in the blogging community.

    Then you could move on to current events in blogging: discuss today’s top bloggers, todays top blogging tools, the different types of blogs, blogs effect on the internet & search engines, etc.

    After all of this ‘discussion’ you would of course want to move on to some practical stuff. You could have students install an application like Moveable Type or WordPress and each create a custom template. Some lessons on basic HTML, PHP, SQL, FTP and other internet technologies would be great but not essential.

    As part of the practical section you would also want to cover other blogging-related online tools like: technorati, blogdex, bloglines, creative commons, etc..

    Although I think it would need to be included, Marketing and advertising should have only a small section. Blogging isn’t neccescarily for monetary means and these subjects would be best left for another class; not an intro blogging course. If you are talking about a whole blogging degree there could certainly be a course on Blog Marketing and another on Blog Advertising/Monetization.

  6. Darren says:

    Great Comments guys – I’ll read them over my morning coffee – but let me answer Duncan’s question before I go get it – I’m of the Aussie Baptist variety – although in a context that is very experimental – they call us ‘emerging church’.

  7. Rachel says:

    You didn’t even tell us you were graduating!!! :P

    Congrats :-)

  8. I think blogging is a bit too narrow a specialty for a bachelor’s degree, but it’s interesting to think about and the replies above make for good reading.

    In practice, I think blogging would fit best into tertiary education as a specialty within a Journalism degree. There’s a lot of overlap, with stuff like critical thinking, writing well, writing fast, researching, evaluating sources, ethics, copyright and other legal issues, etc. These could then be supplemented with blogging-specific elective subjects like HTML, web design, blogging etiquette, SEO, income generation, and all the rest mentioned above. Just like a regular journalism degree would have electives for stuff like radio, TV, newspaper, magazine etc specialties.

  9. I’d like to see it as a course within a writing degree (or maybe journalism) discussing the unique aspects of the medium. I’ve had some trouble adapting from writing books to writing bite-sized content nuggets myself.

    BTW, Darren, congratulations!

  10. Anne says:

    Hi Darren! Just found your site, as I started my own journey to be a blogger =) First of all, big congrats on your graduation. That’s quite a big achievement. Enjoy what you achieved.

    Here’s what I think if we were to design a blogging course at University X.

    I have to agree with Darren Collins, that for blogging to make it as an undergraduate academic title, it’s too narrow. But we can integrate it within eCommerce major or such.

    In creating the curriculum, I’d set the objective to: “By the end of the course, students are able to choose a domain name for their blogs, set up their own websites, find strategies for their blogs to generate revenues, write good blog contents, and drive traffics to their sites.” I would then set the course to take place twice a week of lectures and once a week of practice in a computer lab.

    The syllabus for a semester course would look something like this, roughly:
    Week 1 – Introduction to blogging (covers what is a blog, finding a topic)
    Week 2 – Setting up site
    Week 3 – Web design basic
    Week 4 – Web design basic
    Week 5 – Web design – adding widgets and gadgets
    Week 6 – Generating revenues from blogging
    Week 7 – Generating revenues from blogging
    Week 8 – (some uni holiday)
    Week 9 – Writing good contents
    Week 10 – Promotional strategies
    Week 11 – Promotional strategies
    Week 12 – (Study break)
    Week 13 – Exam week

    Essential readings would be:
    Essential Blogging: Selecting and Using Weblog Tools by Shelley Powers
    Problogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to Six Figure Income ;)

    How to grade students:
    From small projects created in the practical sessions. Points to be graded on:
    - Topics chosen (free point because I think any topic will do)
    - Website design (ease of navigation, reading)
    - Advertisement (AdSense, etc.)
    - Blog content (whether or not content match topic)
    - Revenue generation (newsletter, links, etc.)
    - Extra point: Page ranking from other students

    Ok, I think I’ve exhausted my creativity of the day…HA!

    Happy blogging!