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Case Study 9 - Blogs

Case Study 9 - Blogs

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Published by Tony Toole

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Published by: Tony Toole on Aug 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/25/2012

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Challenge
Tutorials and seminars are part o the culture o aresearch-led university, yet students are oten ill preparedto take advantage o the opportunities aorded bysmall-group teaching. Less condent students avoid takingpart while stronger contributors tend to dominateace-to-ace discussions. Tutors may have no knowledgebeore a tutorial or seminar o how well learners haveunderstood a topic, nor can they assess in advance whichstrategies to use to sustain discussions.
e-Learning advantage
Blogging is a well-established vehicle or personalreection and commentary, although less requently usedunder assessed conditions. Nonetheless, blogging can playan eective part in the delivery o ormal curricula. In thisexample, a VLE-based blogging tool has been used toenhance the dynamics o tutorials and seminars and toimprove the consistency o students’ engagement withmore challenging elements o the curriculum.In this example, reective blogging, carrying 10% o the totalassessment, has replaced an assessed oral component onsome courses. Students are aware that commenting on eachother’s blogs is assessed and so contribute readily. However,there have been other positive outcomes rom the activity,notably greater confdence in undertaking critical evaluations.Students who, or example, dislike open discussion or haveimperect written skills are able to prepare their comments inadvance beore pasting them into the blog. Normally reticentstudents eel more able to contribute, even to challengeothers unseen in a blog. Hence a deeper level o discussiondevelops – both on the blog and in the subsequentace-to-ace sessions.Tutors have also ound advantages. By monitoring postingson the blog, they have better knowledge o how students areprogressing and can assess in advance how to approachace-to-ace sessions:
‘You hit the ground running, so the levelof discussion... is at a much deeper level.’ Tutor 
Engaging learners in critical reection
University o Edinburgh
What is a blog?
A blog (web log) is an online refective journal in whichother internet users can post comments. Blogging toolsintegrated into VLEs allow access to be restricted tomembers o a closed group (or example, a course,module or tutorial group) to support ormallearning activities.
Case studies o technology-enhanced practice
2

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