Clancy Ratliff makes a succinct response to some of the issues raised in the Kairosnews discussion I mentioned yesterday:
If your objective is to create a learning community, weblogs can help you achieve it by giving students a space to share their writing with other students in the class, who have the opportunity to leave comments under their classmates’ posts. Weblogs are also a powerful tool for teaching students about writing for an audience, as they are public, and they reach an audience of not only the teacher and the other students in the class, but also readers outside the class who leave comments.
If your objective is to help students synthesize information and make connections through writing, weblogs can help you meet this objective by allowing students to take advantage of the Web. Weblog software makes it easy for students to create content for the Web without knowing much HTML, find online articles related to topics discussed in class, and share them easily with other students. In my experience, blogging encourages associative thinking.
She also has a good list of resource papers and some questions for further discussion such as the relative advantages of having students keep individual blogs v. one community blog for the class, issues of privacy and issues of forced (assessed) versus optional blogging.