This week the designated topic on Blackboard is: Social presence: This involves the advantages and disadvantages of electronic media for communication.
Is social presence just about having one big party or can it have substance?
Konrad Glogowski's presentation today illustrated some of the ideas around social presence and the use of blogs - teacher and student blogs - and how a community can be encouraged. For example, easing students into the online environment and handing over ownership of learning to them, rather than stipulating what must be learned. How you do this depends very much on the learners and the teacher and the relationship between them. More on this later once people have had a chance to listen and reflect on Konrad's presentation. See more about this topic on his blog.
There is an article on Blackboard to get you thinking about the theory around social presence: Na Ubon, A. & Kimble, C. (2003). Supporting The Creation of Social Presence in Online Learning Communities Using Asynchronous Text-Based CMC (computer mediated conferencing). This relates primarily to online discussion boards rather than blogs which is relevant to several of you and what you use already.
It would be good to compare this article with something on the use of blogs and social presence if anyone has anything and I will look too....coming up.