Motivation, engagement and quality of writing through blogs

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Language learning can be fun, because students have wide access through the Web, where they can take part in online grammar games and receive immediate feedback, and where they have a learning space that allows them to post the progress of work with reflection through blogs. There are many benefits of using blogs to enhance the learning experience. One is for students to strengthen their digital fluency. However, despite having greater opportunities to write and provide peer comments through blogs, students do not just interact with each other; they need more structure and guidance.

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Motivation, engagement and quality of writing through blogs

  1. 1. Dr Paula Hodgson Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong Dora Wong Department of English, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License .
  2. 2. <ul><li>strengthen their ‘ digital fluency ’ (Witte, 2007, p. 96). </li></ul><ul><li>nurture a culture of sharing and transparency in learning </li></ul><ul><li>facilitate peer feedback </li></ul><ul><li>broaden learning space </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>apply theoretical learning to situations; </li></ul><ul><li>nurture creative and critical thinking skills; </li></ul><ul><li>develop reading and writing skills in English; </li></ul><ul><li>practice reporting skills through collection and research on factual data; and </li></ul><ul><li>encourage group work through a project on news writing and audio/video news clips broadcasting. </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>Writing Task (pair work) </li></ul><ul><li>Please add an opening to Text 1: </li></ul><ul><li>Text 1 </li></ul><ul><li>The best time of year to visit Hong Kong is November through March, when it seldom rains and the temperature seldom falls below 50 degrees. Severe smog periodically blankets the city, although it lessens during Chinese New Year when most factories close for the weeklong holiday, which falls at the end of January next year and is the most popular time for Western tourists to come. </li></ul><ul><li>This month, Hong Kong will be the focus of international attention, as thousands of delegates, lobbyists, executives and protesters gather for the World Trade Organization ministerial conference, which takes place from Dec. 13 to 18. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Keith Bradsher, New York Time, 4 Dec 2005 </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>First attempt: </li></ul><ul><li>Hong Kong is on the spot of the global stage! </li></ul><ul><li>Revised writing after class discussion </li></ul><ul><li>This month’s special : WTO Conference in Hong Kong </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>Drafts of news writing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First draft </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Final version </li></ul></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>audio story </li></ul><ul><li>video story </li></ul>
  8. 9. Table A . Number of blog activities of the three seminar groups * Comments can be made by group members and peers from other seminar groups or students from the previous cohort. **by 26 persons making cemments *** by 30 persons making cemments *Comments can be made by group members and peers from other seminar groups or students from the previous cohort. **by 26 persons making cemments *** by 30 persons making cemments Blog activities Sem. Group 1 Sem. Group 2 Sem. Group 3 Total (1) postings 101 149 191 441 (2) *comments by peers 0 **68 ***53 121 (3) viewing 80 53 70 203 386 170 44 765
  9. 10. a The average is taken by the number of persons making comments b The average is taken by the number of members who have viewed (N=16) c The average is taken by the number of members who have viewed (N=21) d The average is taken by the number of members who have viewed (N=17) Blog activities Sem. Group 1 Sem. Group 2 Sem. Group 3 Average (1) postings 5.05 6.77 10.61 7.35 (2) comments by peers 0.00 a 2.62 a 1.77 2.16 (3) viewing b 5.00 c 2.52 d 4.12 3.76
  10. 11. <ul><li>peer feedback was critical </li></ul><ul><li>not satisfied with the comments because peers were not capable in appreciation of different writing styles for different categories </li></ul><ul><li>conscious of what they presented and comments made because the process of learning became ‘transparent’ </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>number of postings is higher than number of viewing across the three groups </li></ul><ul><li>289 out of 441 ( 65.5% ) postings were in the category ‘Exercise’ </li></ul><ul><li>valued the opportunity to learn more from reading the work of peers (Mean: 4.09 ; S.D.= 0.53 ). </li></ul><ul><li>welcomed peer comments (Mean: 4.09 ; S.D. = 0.53 ) </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>interactions between students can highly engage them on tasks </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Overall, I was satisfied with the online interactions with peers (Mean: 3.77 ; S.D.= 0.61 ) </li></ul><ul><li>students from the previous cohort could also make comments to this current cohort </li></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>‘ The peer review process helped me to have a better understanding of the assessment criteria (Means: 3.82 ; S.D.= 0.73 ) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ I found that the assessment criteria were a useful guide to how to provide feedback to peers on their postings to the blog (Means: 3.77 ; S.D.= 0.69 ). </li></ul>
  14. 15. <ul><li>‘ I find an attractive topic for here. It is because I would like to learn sometime through reading you article, “A Lesson to learn: An Asian Auschwitz Concenration Camp”. The spelling , however, is wrong. It should be concentration or concentrical, right? </li></ul><ul><li>However, I can’t get your point. I don’t know what the lesson is, besides describing the history. It may because your expression is too complicated. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition, please beware you logical ordering . It shows some redundancies on your article, such as “the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a museum.” I know fat woman is a woman; and man is man. You can directly cut it. </li></ul><ul><li>Besides, please beware you grammatical mistakes . For example, “I introduce you a uneasy place to visit” should be “an uneasy”. And what is uneasy? Is it too far away? Or there are difficulties? It make me confuse.’ </li></ul>A student from Seminar Group 2
  15. 16. <ul><li>‘ The organization of this writing is very good. Since you’ve written the main aspect first and then added some additional information and the response from the government which is less important at the end. </li></ul><ul><li>For the content , it should better describe more on the situation and problems of the victims now in order to attract readers. I think reader, like me, tends to know more on the situation of Mexicans after flooding because HK has not been flooded and we don’t understand how harsh it is. It’s only an additional point, not a must.’ </li></ul>A student from Seminar Group 3
  16. 17. <ul><li>‘ I was confident that the quality of the final draft was better than that of the initial draft’ (Mean: 4.00 ; S.D.= 0.76 ). </li></ul>
  17. 18. <ul><li>Motivation, Engagement and Quality of Writing through Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Thank YOU! </li></ul>

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