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Blog Abroad

Tool Objectives: 
  1. To experience writing not just as a tool for displaying knowledge but also as a means for acquiring knowledge.
  2. To use blogging to critically reflect on experiences and as a tool for self-discovery.
  3. To learn about global issues, develop multiple perspectives on global affairs, and to begin seeing yourself as a global citizen.
Tool Description: 

Writing is not just a tool for displaying knowledge but also for acquiring knowledge. By writing about their experiences, students can deepen their understanding of the underlying cultural system that gives sense to those events. Because writing involves cognitive processes more rigorous than daily conversation, it is possible to use writing to push students past the limits of their current understanding to grasp new insights and transcend the discomforts of cultural learning and culture shock. Writing therefore becomes a mode to learning culture and personal discovery. This assignment requires that students maintain a blog throughout the duration of the course. Students write entries on three broad themes: global issues, expanding worldview and global citizenship.  Students are also required to respond to the blogs of other students.

Tool Procedures: 
  1. Writing as a Tool for Cultural Understanding. Facilitate a discussion on how writing can be a tool not just for displaying knowledge, but also for acquiring knowledge and developing multiple perspectives. Writing encourages new ways of conceptualizing experiences.
  2. Blogging Abroad.  Introduce the goals and structure of the assignment, showing examples of other student blogs. Explain the three broad themes and give examples of possible topics related to each. Prior to departure, students should upload 3-5 posts to their blog on the topic of “global issues.” While abroad, they should upload 2-3 posts on “expanding my worldview.” After returning from abroad, they should upload 2-3 posts on “what it means to be a global citizen.” Emphasize that the blog posts are not mini-research papers or political rants but are to be thoughtful and insightful reflections on the three themes. Encourage students to upload photos taken while abroad and if appropriate, use secondary sources to support their posts.  (It may be necessary to specify one blog site for all students to use.)
  3. Blogger’s Code of Ethics. Stress the academic nature of this assignment and discuss ethical issues associated with publishing words publicly. Discuss the Code of Ethics on  
  4. Shared Commentary. Encourage students not only to share their blogs, but also to read the blogs of other students in the class. They should upload at least three responses or comments for each of the three blog themes. This should be done respectfully and in the spirit of open and constructive dialogue. If possible, the faculty member should also create a blog for the course and encourage students to read and post their responses.
Tool Evaluation: 

The blogs should be assessed on the depth of insight into the three broad themes and the level of self-reflection demonstrated in the entries. It may be helpful to specify a date and time for each blog entry to be posted and for students to provide responses or comments to other blogs. The assignment could count up to 30% of the overall course grade. Students’ comments on the blogs of other students should factor into the course participation grade.

Tool Time Requirement: 

One class session (pre-departure); Time in-country for students to complete blogs

Tool Author(s): 

A. Ogden & M. Reinig, 2009

Tool Handouts [.doc or .docx]: 

Site copyright 2012, University of Kentucky, Education Abroad.
Toolkit Authors: Duarte Morais, Ph.D., Anthony C. Ogden, Ph.D., & Christine Buzinde, Ph.D.
More information about the toolkit authors.

Danland theme modification by Vaughan A. Fielder.