Student Blogging Assignments

When we think of blogs, memories of early internet diaries may come to mind. However, the evolution of this writing genre has given it limitless potential, making it a relevant and engaging form of expression for students. In this article, we’ll explore the versatility of student blogging assignments and practical tips for using student blogs in your course.

What is the difference between a blog and a website?

While a website typically offers static content, a blog is dynamic and regularly updated with new material. Blogs are most often displayed in reverse chronological order, but they can just as easily be organized and displayed based on author, month, category, or tag. As a teaching tool, blogs can provide an alternative to more formal term papers, can foster a sense of learning community, and provide a platform for project-based learning.

Using blogs as class assignments

Why might you consider creating a blogging assignment in your class? Perhaps you would like to:

  • Give students opportunities to demonstrate what they know and to make curatorial decisions about how to convey that information.
  • Encourage students to write for new audiences. Writing for a public audience is a very different experience than writing for an audience of one’s peers or writing specifically for the instructor.
  • Provide students a reflective opportunity to share what they’ve been learning or how they are accomplishing a large-scale project throughout the semester.
  • Foster a sense of a shared learning community in a class.

Are student blogs protected under FERPA?

While FERPA guidelines restrict the open sharing of students’ personal information and educational records, “it does not and should not prevent students and faculty members from working in public and semipublic spaces, such as open course blogs” (Davis et al., 2020). Instructors may not post student grades or perform evaluative grading work in public spaces where student names are identified, but assignments in which students post their own work publicly are not considered a violation of protected information. That said, you might consider some guidelines when creating public blog assignments for students:

  • Let students know that a blogging assignment is going to be publicly viewable.
  • Allow students to post anonymously if they choose.
  • Remind students not to post their private information.
  • Offer an alternative assignment if they do not want to post publicly.

See an example of syllabus language to explain public blogging assignments.

Student Blogging tools at NC State

Web Publishing Free Tier

The Office of Information Technology manages several options for web publishing. Students can create and manage their own free website through the Free Tier option. These websites use the WordPress platform and are publicly viewable sites.

WolfWare WordPress

The WolfWare WordPress platform at NC State is managed by DELTA and offers several options for providing a secure environment for instructors to manage a website for their class. WolfWare WordPress is recommended for student work because instructors can view all students’ posts in one website. Additionally, WolfWare WordPress can allow students to create posts and blogs that are not viewable by the public.

  • Restrict the visibility of your website. With WolfWare WordPress, instructors have the option to restrict the visibility of your class website to only enrolled students and instructors in a course.
  • Private posts. Students can make a post private so it is viewable by the student who wrote it and the instructor(s), but not to other students.
  • Password-protected posts. A password can be set on a blog post to restrict viewing and editing to specific students.

Types of blogs

What kinds of topics would work well for a student blogging assignment? This type of writing format offers a great deal of flexibility for students to be creative in how they share their knowledge and explore topics. Jennifer Gonzalez, editor-in-chief of the Cult of Pedagogy blog and podcast, offers several ideas for student blogs:

Blog typeDescription
Single ProjectStudents document a project from beginning to end and reflect on their process and progress throughout.
Special Interest Students focus on a single, broad course-related topic with potential sub-topics determined by students’ particular interests.
PortfolioStudents showcase a collection of their work in a specific area.
JournalisticStudents write narratives about things that are happening now. Stories can be short and “newsy” or longer, magazine-style feature articles.
ReviewsStudents post reviews of some type of media: articles, books, music, movies, TV shows, websites, etc.
Advice or How-To Students provide advice or instructions on various topics.
Six different types of blogs to use in an assignment

Grading blogs

Blogs make a great long-term assignment or semester project, where students post regularly and receive frequent feedback. It’s important to consider how you plan to evaluate students’ work. You may want to consider the following when developing your evaluation criteria for blog posts:

  • Purpose and Audience
  • Style, voice, and tone
  • Content
  • Effective and ethical use of multimedia
  • Citations
  • Writing mechanics
  • Technical functionality

Consider using a single point rubric for providing formative feedback on student blog posts throughout the semester. For the final assessment of the blog assignment, you might want to use a more structured rubric with specific levels like this example blog rubric.

It is recommended that you create a Moodle Assignment where students submit the link to each post. You can create your rubric within the assignment to make grading more efficient. Grading directly in WolfWare WordPress with reporting back to Moodle is not possible. Providing grades or evaluative feedback in a public comment on the blog post is not recommended and could be considered a FERPA violation.

Set up a website for student blogs

NC State’s recommended tool for class websites and student blogging assignments is WolfWare WordPress, a custom configuration of the popular WordPress web authoring platform that allows instructors to control the visibility of the website.

  1. Create a WolfWare WordPress site . When you get to Step 5, configure the following settings in WolfWare:
    1. Under Visibility, select whether you want your class website to be Public (viewable by anyone on the web) or restrict viewing to Users and Rosters (enrolled students, instructors, and other individuals managed through WolfWare).
    2. Under Community Preferences, select Yes to allow students to create posts.
    3. Configure the remaining WolfWare WordPress settings based on your preferences.
    4. Click Update WordPress Settings to create the website.
  2. In the WolfWare WordPress dashboard, create categories for students to post in. You can create a category for each student or group and/or create categories based on the topics covered in the course.
    1. In the left menu, hover over Posts, then select Categories.
    2. For each category, enter a name and click Add New Category
  3. In Moodle, create assignments for students to submit links to their blog posts. Be sure to include:
    1. The purpose of the blogging assignment
    2. The link to the class website
    3. Clear instructions for creating posts and selecting category(ies)
    4. Criteria or a rubric explaining how students’ blogging assignments will be evaluated
    5. If you are using password-protected posts or want to allow students to make their posts private, be sure to include clear instructions for using them.
  4. Optional: In the Moodle gradebook, create a separate category for the semester-long blogging assignments.


WolfWare WordPress


Blogging assignments. University of Mary Washington Learning Collaborative. (n.d.).

Davis, R. F., Gold, M. K., & Harris, K. D. (2020). But… FERPA!. Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities.

Dougherty, Jack. (2015) Public Writing and Student Privacy. Web Writing: Why and How for Liberal Arts Teaching and Learning.

Franker, K. (2018, November 15). A rubric for evaluating student blogs.

Gonzalez, J. (2020, November 19). A few creative ways to use student blogs. Cult of Pedagogy.

A small portion of the content in this article was written with the assistance of generative AI:

OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT [Large language model].