As part of today's coverage of education blogging, the Washington Post interviewed Alexander Halavais, graduate director of informatics at the State University of New York's University at Buffalo. Halavais uses blogging extensively in his classes. A few choice bits:
The first semester I used a blog, one of the authors of the work we were reading, an Australian academic, ran across our discussion on the Web and commented on it. This is not uncommon.
I think the most important [thing] is removing the temporal and spatial constraints of the classroom. Learning is more easily integrated with students' lives and with a larger public discussion. In some cases, the blogs also outlast the course in which they are offered.
I generally have every student keep their own blog. I'm teaching a large course this semester, "Cyberporn & Society," with over 300 students blogging.
I think students learn a lot more from reading each other's work than they would by writing just for me. I've also found, over years of using blogs, that students are likely to write much more carefully for an audience of their peers than they are for the professor alone.