Assessed Blogs
Ruth Rojahn from the School of Nursing and Midwifery has used Blogs in the DMU VLE (Blackboard) as part of the assessed coursework for a Level 5 Nursing course (Complex Care Needs). This case study offers an overview of the approach.

A Blog (short for Weblog) – is a collection of individual Posts (from an individual person) – each individual Post can be Commented on by anyone who has access to the Blog

Project Lead
Ruth Rojahn
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Objectives and Approach
In the Complex Care Needs course, online blogs are being used as a space in which individual students can reflect on a particular topic – from a given list. Rather than the blogs being a private dialogue between the individual student and their tutor – as would be the case with for example, an assessed essay – the individual student blogs have been setup so as to be open to other students on the module to view and to comment on.The objective here being to facilitate an environment in which a constructively critical dialogue between students (peer to peer) concerning their individual reflections, ideas and observations is fostered, and where this critical dialogue can then be assessed as part of the formal assessment for the course.

Student Guidelines
The following information is provided to students on their VLE module shell.

Assignment: Blog title and guidelines
The blog will require students to consider the complex needs of an individual and to contribute three blogs related to the patient’s journey through early intervention in ill-health prevention, the management of acute health episodes exploring disability progression, the management of long term conditions and/or end of life care.

Blog Title
“Consider an aspect of care relating to a specific long term condition of your choice.”


  • The student must submit 3 entries to the blog, with each entry containing a minimum of 250 words.
  • Each entry must be supported by one source, correctly referenced.
  • The student’s blog will be marked in its entirety and not an individual blog entry at a time.
  • The blog should clarify student understanding of the chosen topic, capturing knowledge, thoughts and ideas.
  • The contents of the blog relate to a chosen aspect of care for a long-term condition, and this choice will also inform the chosen topic for the report assignment.
  • The blog in its entirety will be the basis for a tutor group presentation, so students must work in their tutorial groups to consider choosing a topic, and work collaboratively to explore the chosen topic, and actively comment on the individual blogs within their group.

Blog topic choices
The blogs will be based around long-term conditions using the following topics. Your tutorial group may choose whichever topic you wish to focus on for your blog from the following:
1.     Cancer
2.     Disability
3.     Dementia
4.     Cystic Fibrosis
5.     Heart Failure
6.     Challenging behaviours
7.     Epilepsy
8.     Schizophrenia
9.     Diabetes
10.   Depression

Blog marking criteria
Non-achievement of one element will constitute a fail.

1. Ideas and content.
The content relates to the topic and is relevant. The ideas contained within may demonstrate original thoughts and there is clarity of expression.

2. Post Frequency
The blog contains the minimum 3 separate blog entries, with each entry being a minimum of 250 words.

3. Writing Quality.
Posts are written using academic style, supported by current literature, correctly referenced.

4. Collaborative working.
There is evidence to demonstrate that students have collaborated, such as commenting on others’ blogs and/or citing other blogs in their own blog.

Assessed blog induction session
Students are introduced to the blog assessment at an induction session that is specifically about the blog assessment. This is important as it gives students the opportunity to ask questions en masse about the assessment, and is particularly useful to those students who have little knowledge or experience of the use of blogs.

Key criteria concerning posting and commenting
Students are prevented from deleting a blog post once they have posted it. This is important as students are required to make comments on each others’ posts and were a post to be deleted after having comments made on it, the comments would be deleted too – hence there would be no record that the comments had been made. This is very important given that making comments on other blogs is required to pass the assessment.

As students are prevented from deleting their blog posts, they are advised to save their posts as drafts whilst they work on them, and only to post them to their blog when they are satisfied with the content.

Students ARE permitted to delete their comments.

The use of a trial blog
A separate blog has been setup where students can do a trial run of adding a post to their blog and making comments on other blog posts. This is an important part of the process as it will identify (to the instructor) those students who are having difficulties with the blogging process. These students’ difficulties can then be resolved before they are expected to begin blogging on the formally assessed blog.


For more information about the use of blogs in education see:

A step-by-step guide to creating blogs in Blackboard can be found HERE

CELT Case Studies
If you would like to have your eLearning practices captured and disseminated in a similar case study, please contact your Faculty ELT Project OfficerThis case study was prepared by:
Rob Weale (CELT)
Date of publication: October 2013