Weblogs: Supporting the creation of learning networks in the technology classroom

Birney, Rosanne (2006) Weblogs: Supporting the creation of learning networks in the technology classroom. In: ALT-C 2006, 5-7 September, Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Abstract

This study aims to determine the effectiveness of weblogs as a tool for collaborative learning in an online environment, with a particular focus on technology students. Some of the VLEs currently in use in third-level institutions restrict the way in which students interact with one another and with their tutors. The use of weblogs as a tool for collaborative learning can help to overcome several of the shortcomings of traditional VLEs by providing a dynamic, user-friendly way for students to peer review one another’s work and to communicate with their tutors and with one another. An initial pilot study was conducted over a 10-week period with a group of technology students as part of their Networks course. The first six sessions focused on the technical aspects of blogs (e.g. permalinks, backlinks, RSS feeds, RSS aggregators). In the remaining four sessions, students used their blogs to review one another’s class presentations and to share additional information on their own research with the rest of the class. Laurillard’s conversational framework and Salmon’s online learning model were used as a theoretical basis for describing how weblogs could be incorporated into the existing learning environment. Weblogs can be integrated into several stages of these models, enhancing the collaborative process and supporting the creation of learning networks. Preliminary findings show that the use of weblogs in a blended learning environment, in conjunction with classroom teaching and a VLE can enhance the learning experience for both students and tutor. The level of interaction between blogs was high, with students frequently commenting on and linking to one another’s blogs, suggesting that weblogs promote collaborative learning in an online environment. Initial feedback from students is also positive: they readily engaged with the new technology and were enthusiastic about its use.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Departments or Groups: eLearning Technology Group
Divisions: School of Science > Department of Chemical and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Rosanne Birney
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2009 09:30
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2016 10:26
URI: http://repository.wit.ie/id/eprint/1346

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