Using planet of blogs to boost participation, quality and control, and allow co-evaluation

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Name of your institution: Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
Type of your institution: traditional HEI


We had been working with student blogs for several years with great success, but some issues where too much time-taking and not satisfactory from the pedagogic point of view. In this sense, we saw that students had to surf through a large amount of links and webs to see their fellow students entries. On the other hand, students were very active writing, and sometimes commenting other student's blogs, but we did not have any way of knowing how they rated other's blogs. Finally, the time that we lecturers had to devote to the activity was too much: following the students was ardous and evaluating a very time-consuming activity.


The purpose of this activity is to boost participation among students writing blogs. The competences are the same that are targeted with any other activity that includes having to write a blog and read other students' blogs. The difference lies in the fact that we propose a way so that this is made easier for students and lecturers (by having all in a single site, by allowing to introduce concepts such as RSS) and by allowing new uses (by allowing co-evaluation and ease of control by the lecturer).


We built a software tool called FAVS, which is free/libre/open source software, that allows to have all blogs of the class grouped into a single site, as if all of them were one blog by itself. FAVS allows registration of users, so that lecturers do not have to perform this task. By embedding a Javascript into any HTML, the planet can be accessed from any other site easily (including in learning management systems as Moodle or WebCT). In addition to the entries, FAVS allows students to evaluate the entries of their fellow students by means of a Facebook-I-like-it mechanism; this way of co-evaluation boosts participation and allows lecturers to know the blogs that are better considered by the students.


We have tried FAVS for over 4 years in over a dozen different environments, from secondary school to masters degrees. It has been used in traditional HEI, but in complete on-line environments such as the Open Univeristy of Catalonia. In addition to traditional blogs, it can also use Tweeter and other micro-blogging sites.

User-Generated Content experience

We have had several experiences with our planet software so far. We have used it in tradicional HEI environments where we make use of blended learning and in completely on-line courses such as the ones in the ADA Madrid project (with students from all the public universities of the Madrid region) and the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).

In addition, as favs is offered as a free (both free software and gratis) service, at least a dozen other universities and over 20 Spanish high schools have used this system for their activities.


(see above)


Any type of learner can use it. We have tried it from >12years.


FAVS can be used (and downloaded) at

How did you address quality-related issues?

The fact that all blogs are included in a single web page enables following them in an easy way. The number of visits to blogs and posts increases. In addition, as students have the chance to specify those entries in the blogs they consider interesting, we have observed that writers have an immediate incentive to write better stories.

See here an example of the Quality Framework

Go back to the Conference Main Page


Blogs in moodle is less purposeful, not a blog in a real sense

Using blogs in classroom starts out with the question: why has blog to be used in the especific educational situation?

The individual or group use of the blog has to be taken in to account

how to follow students' blogs

tool with suggested blogs to follow

how to make students readers and comment on each others posts - most radical: make commenting part of the assessment (not favoured by the group) - depends on overall objective of the course - case of no commenting/reading intended by the educator is rare

Planet of blogs