The merits of blogging; its usefulness as a pedagogical tool

O’Sullivan, Siobhán and McGlynn, Hugh (2011) The merits of blogging; its usefulness as a pedagogical tool. [Conference Proceedings]


Advances in technology present opportunities to change the way we teach. Blogs have become an increasingly popular tool to communicate with others on the internet. Social constructivism provides a pedagogical paradigm that supports the use of blogs in educational settings. In teaching and learning arenas, blogging is viewed as a novel tool with potential for student learning; students can discuss with each other activities/materials covered in class thus extending the learning experience beyond the classroom. Blogs offer online locations where students can express how they feel about what they learn, they can express difficulties they are having on a daily basis, reread previous posts and reflect.We showcase the use of blogs in the teaching of 1st and 2nd year undergraduate Biomedical Science students as part of an assessment in two separate modules. Students used the blog to reflect on their day to day activities. Many discussed their misconceptions, their difficulties with certain lectures and course materials. Many discussed difficulties they were experiencing around group work assignments. Many shared concerns around certain course work; they shared insecurities around starting college and adjusting to college life. As a course coordinator, the blog gave great insight into the difficulties and struggles many students had with the course. These difficulties were addressed and students felt their voice was heard.Second year students also prepared blogs which were used to discuss the courses they were taking. These blogs give insight to first year students as to the challenges in the year ahead. Communications between both groups have occurred through micro blogging (using Twitter). Class relations have been built up and from it has emerged a mentoring program between both groups. We showcase the usefulness of blogs in enhancing and directing teaching, building class relations and morale and possibly improving retention amongst first year students.

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NAIRTL 4th Annual Conference (Cork) 2010 Flexible Learning Conference Proceedings_sm.pdf

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