Hello everyone. Thank you for taking the time to attend my conference session today.
My name is Leanne Johnstone and I am an Advanced Practitioner at a FE college in Manchester. My specialism is Biology and I have recently been involved in the writing of new modules and assessments for HE programmes. We were really keen to use a range of assessment methods and as a result developed an assignment based on the production of a series of blog and vlog entries on the subject of Nutrition.
Each student is required to write five articles and post them to a blog. A blog was chosen as it reflects an ever increasing method of the communication of scientific information in the wider world. By creating blogs it is also hoped that students develop their digital skills and literacy. It is hoped that it will be a requirement for at least two blog posts to be in video format as a vlog but at the moment this is not compulsory.
As blogs are not widely used as an assessment method in the organisation where I work, I was keen to monitor students progress and their experience of creating the blogs. To facilitate this I am undertaking an action research project to further evaluate and develop the process.
The first cohort of students were given the task in November and have recently submitted their final work. Student feedback was gathered through two focus groups; one at the point of input and one shortly after the deadline.
Positive: Fun! It helped them develop their technical skills. They liked that they could comment on each others work. They felt as though they produced better pieces of writing as they were going to be read by their peers. Seeing other students work gave them ideas about their own. Negative: Some students raised concerns about the difficulty of using the blogging platform. Some were unsure of the value of the exercise "would we need it?" Scared of publishing the wrong information, even though this would only be seen by their peers. Concerned about other students using their work.
Only one students opted to complete a vlog. Surprisingly they said that making the video was required much less technological skill than the written blog posts. This is because they were familiar with making videos using their phone. They liked that they were able to focus on explaining the information rather than focusing on using an academic writing style. They said that it was more engaging and it brought out their creativity.
Using this feedback I have further developed the assignment to take into account their views and experiences. Changes I have made include: A series of activities preceding the making of the blog to familiarise and gain confidence in the blogging tool. Blogger was used as the students already had google accounts for a different activity and the tool allowed the students to take ownership of the blog by changing the theme etc. Students found changing the privacy settings difficult and required a lot of support doing this. Using the blog within the VLE would resolve this issue but some of the functionalities would be lost.
Blogging vs vlogging (003)
How do they differ in the learning experience that
they offer students?
Leanne Johnstone H818 16J
HE @ FE
5 blog posts Digital skills Digital literacy
Power, R., & Naysmith, J. (2005). Action
research: A guide for associate lecturers.