Blogs follow a typical design structure and contain consistent components. Students' awareness of these can aid in their reading comprehension of them:

1. "Last In-First Out" Style: This means that the last item written or posted will be found at the top of the blog. Very few people change this layout pattern simply because most software encourages it by default. Knowing this, students can identify the more up-to-date information or trace back the archived entries.

2. The Post-Element: This is the main posting structure typical of most blogs. Generally speaking, the following options are commonly found on a blog:
     a. The Main Link and Summary/Commentary: This is a link to the primary source about which the blogger is writing. It may be be posted and summarized by the blogger, but usually it is meant for commentary purposes--to engage the readers of the blog. Blog readers should take special care to distinguish between the linked website and the blogger's commentary on that site.

    b. Permalink: Short for "permanent link," this is the link to the specific database location of a specific post. If students want to share or forward it to others, they will need the URL of this link. Otherwise, they will end up with the general blog URL, and it will be difficult to find the specific post they were referring to.

    c. Images and Block-quotes: Images may or may not be utilized by a blogger. If used they will add to the time their page needs to upload. In addition, block-quotes from a primary source are sometimes used by bloggers for their summary/commentary. Most bloggers will identify this with italics, indention, or some other element so that a reader knows this information is quoted and not written by the blogger.

    d. The Comments Link: Blogs are meant to be interactive with readers. The comment link is where the readers can comment on what the blogger has posted, and discussion can take place regarding the blogger's ideas. On some blogs, in order to comment, the student will have to sign-in or create an account.

3. Search Box: The Search Box enables students to easily find the information (archival and current) for which they are searching.

If you want to use blogs in the classroom, one activity is to have students find blogs related to the content of your course. They can then present the information they learn to the class, and discuss how this information differs from what they would typically find in a research article or database. You could also set up an online discussion area where students post the link to the blog (or the permalink to a specific entry) along with a summary or commentary. Then the rest of the class can use these as resources for learning more about the subject.

To prepare them for this assignment make sure to conduct mini-lessons where you discuss issues of credibility and the design structures of blogs.