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Scenario12.

Scaffolding learning in student blogging projects


Note: The two scenarios below address student learning scaffolds (supporting/guiding) and self organised learning. We suggest reading the articles below before commencing with the scenarios: McLoughlin, C. and Marshall, L. 2000. Scaffolding: A model for learner support in an online teaching environment. In A. Herrmann and M.M. Kulski (Eds), Flexible Futures in Tertiary Teaching. Proceedings of the 9th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 2-4 February 2000. Perth: Curtin University of Technology. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2000/mcloughlin2.html ; and Paramythis, A. and and Cristea, A. 2008. Towards Adaptation Languages for Adaptive Collaborative Learning Support, CEUR Workshop Proceedings. Vol 384. http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-384/FULLPAPER-p6.pdf

Scenario A (Collaborative blog):


About the assignment: In an undergraduate art course, the tutors created a collaborative blog space on Moodle. The students were asked to publish one blog per week for thirteen weeks and provide weekly comments to at least two of their peers per week. Each blog post had a required word length between 200 to 300 words. The students were asked to post around the topic of How did The Reformation movement in 16th Century Europe impact on Western European art? The tutors presented clear criteria for the assignment, including learning aims and outcomes and clearly worded assessment criteria. In addition to the overall learning aims and outcomes, the tutors were keen for the students to develop Web 2.0 literacy. Together, these various project aspects formed the tutors teaching goals. The goals for the students included maintaining the required number of blog post and comments as well as an understating of the Web 2.0 technologies they were asked to use. They understood that the course tutors were not solely look at what we did (publishing blog posts and comments) for the assessment criteria - but how we did it (Web 2.0 tools used) and how well we did it (consistent quality of the contributions made to the overall discussion). Natasha and Adam got to chatting about the assignment. They realise that neither of them really understands enough about The Reformation much less how it might have impacted upon Western art. When they chat to some of their course peers, they quickly realise they are not alone in their lack of understanding. The students decide to post about this problem. The posts dont receive comments from
This resource was created by University College Falmouth and released as an open educational resource for University College Falmouth through the Blogging For Educational Environments (B4EE) project. The B4EE project is funded by University College Falmouth's Learning and Teaching Enhancement Programme. 2012 University College Falmouth

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Licence. When repurposing this resource please acknowledge the B4EE project.

wither the tutors or those students who have a grasp on the subject matter. The students think the tutors will respond and the tutors think that the students fellow classmates will respond. After a week, the problem is addressed in-class by the tutors who offer suggestions and advise to the students (suggested reading, an in-class debate and online research materials). During class, the tutors instruct the students that, whenever possible, questions posted to the blog should be answered by the students themselves, in the first instance. Tutors would only intervene or contribute if the class, as a whole, was struggling with a concept or issue.

Scenario B (Individual blogs):


About the assignment: In an undergraduate fashion design course, Year 2 students were asked to create professional practice blogs. While the students were free to choose their blogging subject, they were reminded that the overall aim of the blog was for them to build a professional online profile, including using their blog to start networking professionally within the fashion industry. The students were also encouraged to incorporate a reflective process as part of their blogs (If you experienced a problem, for example working with neoprene, blog about what the problem was and how you overcame it. Demonstrate your learning curve.). The assignment would run until the end of that academic year although they would be expected to blog until they graduated from the course. The tutors presented clear criteria for the assignment, including learning aims and outcomes and clearly worded assessment criteria. Four weeks into the assignment, students began to complain that half of students who either hadnt set up blogs by the given deadline or had created a blog and hadnt posted any blog posts. When asked, the handful of students who hadnt engaged with the assignment cited a number of reasons for their lack of participation: lack of knowledge about blogging, confusion over technology, some just didnt get the point of the assignment, some didnt know where to begin, and some felt intimidated because a number of their peers had amazing blogs far better than anything they could ever come up with.

Key questions
How have you designed the assignment to meet the needs of your students? What instructional strategies (e.g. modelling procedures, group work) will you incorporate into your blogging assignment? Why have you selected these strategies? How will you guide students learning for your blogging assignment? What resources, tools and/or expertise will you provide? What value does the technology bring to the assignment? What might your students learn as a result of your efforts to integrate technology?

This resource was created by University College Falmouth and released as an open educational resource for University College Falmouth through the Blogging For Educational Environments (B4EE) project. The B4EE project is funded by University College Falmouth's Learning and Teaching Enhancement Programme. 2012 University College Falmouth

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Licence. When repurposing this resource please acknowledge the B4EE project.

Consider how you might conduct the same assignment without technology. a. How does the use of technology alter the assignment? b. What kind of technology preparation would you and your students need prior to the assignment? What kind of pre-requisite Web 2.0 and blogging knowledge do you believe you students will have? c. What could you do to get them and you prepared?

How will you support learner development and their independent learning/study strategies? How will you monitor engagement and progression through the assignment/ at what point would you intervene if engagement is lacking or the appearance of a problem? How will you encourage and monitor peer feedback? How will you encourage learner control / self-direction / learning autonomy? And what tools will you supply to facilitate this? Will you provide formative feedback? In stages? And when? What format will your feedback take? What will be the delivery platform (e.g. posted comments, a document, audio file, etc)? Will your feedback be general in nature or specific? Will the assignments information be presented in one format or alternative format (e.g. document only, audio only, documents and audio, etc)? What guidance or support will there be to allow students to self-assess their work?

This resource was created by University College Falmouth and released as an open educational resource for University College Falmouth through the Blogging For Educational Environments (B4EE) project. The B4EE project is funded by University College Falmouth's Learning and Teaching Enhancement Programme. 2012 University College Falmouth

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Licence. When repurposing this resource please acknowledge the B4EE project.