I've frequently had students keep blogs during my classes. The idea has been to give them a place to post their own writing that's accessible to the larger world. Writing to a real audience changes the academic game and makes the task of communicating more urgent.
For my handcrafting seminar this semester, I'm doing something different. This class emphasizes the collective journey we're taking into the world of making things by hand. So I've created a multi-author blog, Craft Wisely, where all the students will post.
So that there won't be fifteen posts every week, and to divide up labor, I've assigned the students to groups of three or four people each. The groups will rotate posting duties week by week, with each student in the assigned group posting his or her own thoughts. On a parallel rotation, groups will record podcasts with each other to discuss class topics and ideas; those will be posted on the blog as well.
I hope you'll subscribe to Craft Wisely and follow the students' journey there during this semester. They bring different skills and are starting from different places on their trek into the world of handmaking. I expect this shared record to be diverse, interesting, and possibly occasionally enlightening. Please join us there starting next week, when the first student posts will appear, and comment boldly -- the more it's clear that they have readers beyond the boundaries of the classroom, the more they will make connections and grow as writers and thinkers this semester.