Below are links to and notes on three interesting recent research articleson blogs in education:
Kerewalla, Minocha, Kirkup and Canole (2008) identify four factors that students consider when participating in a course blogging assignment. These factors are:
- Audience: What audience (if any) are contributors addressing?
- Community: To what extent are contributors working together to achieve common goals or objectives?
- Comments: What kind of feedback (if any) should readers offer contributors on their posts? Why should reader and contributors engage in discussion about a post?
- Presentation: What form should a post take? What register and voice should contributors use? What writing rules should contributors obey?
This article is worth reading because the authors present a useful model for planning blog-based learning activities. The model includes useful questions for instructors to reflect on in the planning process and for students to consider when they contribute to a course blog. There are two clear take-home messages for instructors:
- craft a clear rationale for blogging activities and explain the benefits for the students
- avoid overburdening contributors with a lot of guidelines and restrictions – use questions to create opportunities for reflection instead.
Higdon and Topaz (2009) describe how they use student blogs and a wiki to to practice just-in-time teaching. In a nutshell, students blog before class about what they don’t understand about the course material, and the instructor tailor. This technique complements active learning strategies in lectures.
Tougaw (2009) reflects on the relationship between blogging and academic writing. The article is interesting because it explores the issues of voice and inquiry and the uses of having students do informal writing in formal educational contexts. Those teaching academic writing or considering using blogs in a W course will find this a rich resource.