tumblr. logo from www.tumblr.com
Tumblr is a free online social media platform used for micro-blogging (or tumblelogging). While tumblr can be used for lengthy postings, users tend to use tumblr to post quick bursts of content that includes:
  • Text
  • Photos
  • Quotes
  • Chat (you enter both sides of a conversation to represent a conversation)
  • Links
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Clips and videos. Users can also follow blogs they like, and reblog posts made by other users. Users can post from a number of convient devices including their computer, phone, or email.

To learn more about the basics of tumblr, here is a short video, What is Tumblr, that explains what it is all about:

Getting Started | Online Learning Application | Pros and Cons | References

Getting Started

It is incredibly quick to get started on tumblr. Simply create an account at https://www.tumblr.com/ and within minutes, you can be posting entries to your blog. Here is a video,Tumblr Beginner Tutorial (2013 version), that explains how to create an account and begin blogging:

In tumblr, users can create individual blogs or group blogs. An individual blog is a personal blog that belongs to and is contributed to one person. Its content is reflective of its individual owner. A group blog is a collaborative blog that more than one person belongs to and can contribute to. Its contents are reflective of the group. A group blog can be used to create a class blog. For information on how to create a group blog in tumblr, visit How To Create a Group Tumblr Blog.

Online Learning Application

Tumblr can be used at the beginning, middle, and/or end of an online course. Here are some ideas how:

  • Course Beginning: Some teachers have become adept enough at tumblr to use it to create a class website (using the group blog feature). This would be done before the course begins and then introduced to students as the course begins. Here is an example of a class website on tumblr: http://writerblockparty.tumblr.com/. For those of us, however, who are less adept, tumblr could be used to help students get to know one another and their instructor. The students and instructor could create their own blog and post some information about themselves so that students and the instructor get to know one another. Each could also post their favourite photo and explain why it is their favourite, their favourite quote about how they feel about what they are about to learn, or the number one thing they want to get out of the course. The possibilities are only limited by an instructor's imagination.
  • Course Middle: As the course progresses, instructors can use tumblr as a reflection tool. Through guided questions, instructors can ask students to post their thoughts and reflections. Instructors could also ask students to pose questions of their own that other students would be directed to read and respond to. Students could follow each other's blogs and post comments. In reflections, instructors could ask students to reflect in a variety of formats. Beyond a text response, students could post audio and video and even create an imagined dialogue.
  • Course End: Instructors can use tumblr as an assessment tool. By reviewing students' blogs, they can assess learning through postings over time. Instructors can also use a group blog as a showcase or class portfolio. They could ask students to post their best work to the blog to share their achievements. Here is an example of a course using Tumblr to showcase student’s work (many links are now broken, but the concept still remains): http://cee13si.tumblr.com/#/about.

For more ideas on how to use Tumblr in the classroom, we recommend reviewing this online article: Introduction to Using Tumblr in the Classroom.

Pros and Cons


  • Free
  • Quick to get started and share content
  • Easy to post content using a variety of devices
  • Easy to post short and more traditional lengthy text posts


  • Customizing a blog requires knowledge of html code
  • Creating a group blog is complicated

Top of the Page


Dees, J. (2011, November 14). Introduction to Using Tumblr in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.avemariapress.com/engagingfaith/2011/11/introduction-using-tumblr-classroom/.

Ouyang, D., De Santiago, R. & Yee, A. (2011). Cee 13SI: Introduction to Architectural Modeling. Retrieved from http://cee13si.tumblr.com/.

PlanetNutshell. (2011, June 16). What is Tumblr. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C47FUM6lgk.

Sardam, J. (2007, August 25). Urban Dictionary: 1. tumblelog. Retrieved from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=tumblelog.

Tumblring. (2012, April 11). How to Create a Group Tumblr Blog. Retrieved from http://tumblring.net/how-to-create-a-group-tumblr-blog/.

Writer’s Block Party. (2010). Retrieved from http://writerblockparty.tumblr.com/.

YIN97825. (2013, March 9). Tumblr Beginner Tutorial (2013 version). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zCgbc5LqlM.