notes from NOTES & IDEAS: Using Blogs to Teach Philosophy by Linda E. Patrik (submitted December 12, 2005).
1) It helps students get used to the “I” of philosophical writing, the “I” of making an argument with an actual audience in mind. And it makes them more confident in making those arguments.
2) It works best to have each student have their own blog (rather than having all students post on a single blog) — “students write more [and] they argue more creatively.” They start to realize that their blog is in competition for attention, for readers, so they start to try to make their blogs more attractive and their writing more interesting and heated. Even when commenting, the students try to “entice” readers to follow them back to their blog.
3) They develop confidence and creativity (i.e., with blog ingredients / design).
4) It “encourages creativity in philosophical debate… because it allows for fairly spontaneous expression of ideas and it invites students to journey out of their blogs into the blogworld established by another.”
5) Grading is easier. “Grades for individual blogs make more sense to students than do grades on what they have contributed to a common blog or chat room.” [I believe that!]