Blog Activity

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Blog Activity


Description Learners will create a personal blog and post to it.
Source Courtesy of Karl Wurst and Greg Hislop
Prerequisite Knowledge None.
Estimated Time to Completion 60 minutes minutes
Learning Objectives To understand the purpose of a blog. To create and post a blog entry. To understand the use of tags to distribute blog postings to a planet.
Materials/Environment Access to Internet/Web and web browser.
Rights Licensed CC BY-SA
Turn In Add your blog to the POSSE participants page


According to wikipedia: [1]

"A blog (a portmanteau of the term web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries ("posts") typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). ... Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries; others function more as online brand advertising of a particular individual or company. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important contribution to the popularity of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (art blogs), photographs (photoblogs), videos (video blogs or "vlogs"), music (MP3 blogs), and audio (podcasts). Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts. In education, blogs can be used as instructional resources. These blogs are referred to as edublogs."

Blogs provide:

  • Immediate availability with long term accessibility
  • No HTML knowledge required

What makes a Web site a Blog?

  • Personal writing with byline
  • Can be an individual or a group
  • Short entries – a paragraph to a few pages
  • Dated entries – usually displayed in reverse chronological order
  • Themed and often opinion based
    • Business topic
    • (for personal blogs) hobby, diary, report of cat activities

Blog to blog connections are common

  • Blogs cite each other
  • Multiplies visibility of postings
  • Expands communities

Blog posts as threaded discussion triggers

  • Many blogs allow comment posting
  • Blogger controls thread topic by always posting the initial thread item

Blog posts can have tags and categories

  • Which can support routing or selection of posts
  • RSS (and RDF and Atom) provides a push technology letting people “subscribe” to a blog
  • Blog planets provide a way to collect a stream of related blog posts

Blogs in the Open Source World

  • Many FOSS developers use blogs to reflect on their work or to make observations on FOSS events or new technologies.
    • For instance, the forking of LibreOffice from OpenOffice was a source of several blogs weighing the merits of the split.

Blog Planet There are many cases where it makes sense to pull together all of the blog postings either from a particular group or all blog postings related to a particular topic. In fact, blog planets are software that accomplishes this. For instance, Fedora has a planet that collects all of the postings for people blogging about Fedora. TeachingOpenSource also has a blog that aggregates the blog posts from the faculty members and FOSS developers that belong to that community. In order to have a blog post sent to a planet, the blogger must "sign up" for the planet and then use the appropriate tags to identify a particular blog post as being relevant to the planet. More formally:


Part 1 - Introduction to Blogging

  1. Read the following page about blogging.

Part 2 - Creating a blog

If you do not already have a blog, create one at Do the following:

  1. Go to
  2. Click Get Started and fill out the form provided.
  3. Fill in basic information in your profile
  4. Fill in the “About” page

Part 3 - Posting to your blog

Now that you have a blog, it is time to make a post.

  1. In the last activity you completed the FOSS Field Trip and looked at projects on sourceforge and ohloh. Create a blog post that talks about the type of FOSS project you searched for (education, finance, health care, etc.) and what you found (refer to the notes you took when answering the questions). What projects caught your eye? Were they active projects? Did language or platform seem to match your curriculum? Any thoughts you are willing to share about the activity, what you learned and/or how you hope to incorporate FOSS into your classroom would be great to include in your blog post.
  2. Add a link to your blog by creating an entry on the POSSE participants page. Model your entry after the ones shown. Please insert your link alphabetically by last name.

Part 4 - Introduction to Planets

  1. Read the following page about planets.
  2. Go to the Teaching Open Source Planet and observe the recent blog posts that the planet has aggregated. You'll note that there are posts on a variety of different topics from a variety of different people. (It is not expected that you understand all of these posts.)

Part 5 - Signing up for the TOS planet - OPTIONAL

  1. Go to the TOS planet Feed
  2. Tag your post with whatever tag you will use for posts that you want to appear on the Teaching Open Source Planet (suggestion: TOS).
  3. Go to Teaching Open Source ( and create an account if you have not already: (
  4. Follow the instructions to add your URI for the feed the Planet Feed List ( You will have to edit the Feeds section to add the URI and your name. Follow the format of the other entries there and be careful to read and follow the Feed Info Format section.
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