Learning Through Blogs: Evaluating the learning and teaching benefits of using blogs in higher education

Project: Other

Description

A growing body of literature has explored how blogs can enhance learning and teaching in higher education. This literature highlights a number of benefits including supporting peer learning, helping students to develop a critical voice, providing students with an opportunity to gain experience of writing for a non-academic audience, developing practical written communication skills which can support careers in policy or the media (Oravac 2003, Williams & Jacobs 2004, Top 2012).
This project will evaluate the use of blogs for teaching with a view to (1) disseminating findings across the university by developing a short set of guidelines and (2) communicating findings to a wider audience through the presentation of a paper at a specialist conference and the publication of an academic article. The project will focus initially on three units convened by the project leader in the SPS department, where the use of blogs as a method of enhancing students’ learning has been refined over the last year. The project will also investigate the wider use of blogs throughout the university and will seek to incorporate other units or programmes into the study if others are found to be using blogs.

Key findings

Blogs work best when the unit convener is fully engaged and committed to using this approach. Think carefully about what blogs might offer for your course and make sure you are clear about the learning outcomes you are hoping to promote through using them.
Here are six practical tips and things to think about when incorporating blogs into teaching.
1. Ensure that the rationale for using blogs is clearly explained at the outset and develop clear guidelines
2. Maximise opportunities for teacher/peer feedback
3. Give students flexibility.
4. Accept that students have different priorities/motivations and try to accommodate these.
5. If blogs are used as a formative assessment, make clear links to summative assessment
6. If blogs are used as a summative assessment, be clear about what you are looking for
Short title1,268
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/10/15 → 30/09/16