ACI in the Classroom

In ACI Roundup: The Use of Social Media and Blogs in Education, we noted various examples of educators using social media and blogs to enhance students’ learning experiences and promote a better understanding of the real-world effects of online reach and collaboration. In this post, we’ll look at four tips for using the ACI Scholarly Blog Index to incorporate blogs into your own classroom.

Because all blogs in ACI have already undergone a rigorous editorial review process, the collection provides authoritative content from credentialed authors in every academic discipline. Ensuring that your students have a value-added set of publications acts as a safety net, keeping blog browsing and searching activities confined to those whose content has been deemed substantial enough for scholarly research.

1. Share ACI search-results permalinks with students.

ACI offers permalinks that allow you to direct students to any predetermined set of search results. For example, you can use a permalink that displays all posts published by a particular blog, by a particular author, and even by authors affiliated with a particular institution.

Use a permalink that displays all results affiliated with a particular Library of Congress classification – for example, QD results for chemistry students or CC results for archeology students. Embed the permalink in a classroom blog, syllabus, or Blackboard discussion board. Your students will be able to access your permalink even if they’ve never visited ACI before.

2. Have students locate author profiles based on your course’s academic field.

The blogs in ACI cover all academic subjects, so take advantage of an extended learning opportunity to have students locate potential experts and thought leaders in a given academic discipline. Because ACI provides full author profiles for every blog author in the Index, students will have comprehensive information on that author’s educational, research, and other academic affiliations.

In addition, profiles include numerous social media connection options, including ORCID, ISNI, Scopus,, Twitter, and more, and a Community Activity Score offers even further details on metrics of social reach and their scope of influence. Having students gather profiles not only encourages them to more fully consider active contributors to their field but also provides other avenues for enhanced connection and collaboration outside of the classroom.

3. Have students comment on one or more blogs using Disqus.

Encourage both peer-to-peer and peer-to-expert engagement by having students comment on one or more blogs in ACI. Because the Disqus social commentary tool is seamlessly integrated into the page for each and every post, your students can easily collaborate on a number of topics—no separate login necessary.

In addition to typing their comments, students can also “favorite” posts and share posts with others, making the process a fun and interactive one.

4. Use ACI Export options to streamline group activity.

Does your class already use a Google Drive or Dropbox folder? If so, have students export selected posts to those Google Drive or Dropbox folders to streamline activity for all students at once.

Perhaps your institution has a preferred citation management or collection tool, like Mendeley or RefWorks. Options for these are included in the ACI Export tool as well, so be sure to direct students to use the Export option that brings all activities together for a truly integrative and collaborative experience.

Try these four tips when developing your next classroom assignment, and let us know what happens. Have your own favorites? Let us – and your peers – know just how you incorporate blogs and social media into your classroom by adding your own comment below.

Image: Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography licensed CC BY 2.0