James is right about these two quick ways to kill off blogging in education. This is partially because of the ubiquitous but unnatural dissection of our education system into years, semesters and courses rather than dividing our education by students, topics and lives.
Blogging works best when it is a part of a persons life, meaning that it is a way that they work rather than a course requirement. It works best when it is owned by the individual student rather than being an element of a class they are taking. It works best when it is not forced. In short it cannot belong to the institution and it can rarely work as a requirement.
If we already know exactly how to kill blogging in education let us ask how we can avoid these easy deaths.
I would suggest a couple of thoughts that I hope might lead to possible solutions. First, give the blogs to the students just like the various programs where students have been supplied with laptops or iPods. The blog should belong to the student and they should be able or even expected to use it in a variety of classes throughout their academic career – this pretty much eliminates the possibility of including the blogs in a CMS althought I think feeds could still be very useful there. Second, provide a simple way for the student to substitute their own blog for the institutional blog. This is already easy to do for those students who have an existing blog, but it should also include a way for the students to port their old blog entries to a new blog when they leave the educational institution where they got the blog. We can’t reasonably expect the school to support blogs of former students indefinitly, but they can make it possible for students to “forward” their blogs if the students are willing to create their own blog and click the buttons to export and import the data from their old blog. That would allow those students who desire to continue blogging an option to keep all their work. It would serve as a history and a writing portfolio for them.