Blogging: an Effective Tool for Academic Writing Sharon Pajka, Ph.D. Gallaudet University Gallaudet University eCurriculum...
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Blogging an effective tool for academic writing

  1. 1. Blogging: an Effective Tool for Academic Writing Sharon Pajka, Ph.D. Gallaudet University Gallaudet University eCurriculum Technology Research Grant <ul><li>Mitchell, R. E.& Karchmer, M. A.(2006). Demographics of Deaf Education: More Students in More Places. American Annals of the Deaf , 151(2), 95-104. </li></ul><ul><li>Kluth, Paula (2008). “It was Always the Pictures…”: Creating Visual Literacy Supports for Students with Disabilities. In N.Frey and D. Fisher Teaching Visual Literacy: Using Comic Books, Graphic Novels, Anime, Cartoons and More to Develop Comprehension and Thinking Skills (169-188). Thousand Oaks, CA, Corwin Publishing. </li></ul><ul><li>Lenhart, A. & Fox. S. (2006). Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internets new storytellers. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved June 2, 2008, from </li></ul><ul><li>McMillan-Clifton, A. (2007). The Confluence: Process Theory, Contact Zones, an Online Composition. TCC 2007 Proceedings , 52-61. </li></ul><ul><li>Schirmer, B.R. & McGough, S.M. (2005). Teaching reading to children who are deaf: do the conclusions of the national reading panel apply? Review of Educational Research ; 75(1), 83-117. </li></ul>References * Researchers have noted advantages of blogging; yet, few studies include Deaf students. Research was conducted in sections of English courses at Gallaudet University. English Educators seek the best ways to incorporate authentic reading and writing as well as ways to bridge the gaps underprepared students have; yet, they face students who often have little interest or motivation in completing traditional writing assignments. McMillan-Clifton (2007) writes, it would seem that effective composition instruction should move toward embracing the forms that students are already growing comfortable with outside of the classroom.Ž (52). <ul><li>Research was conducted during the Fall 2007 in a developmental English course, in Fall 2008 semester in two sections of an ENG 102 course, and again in the Fall 2009 semester in two sections of an ENG 102 course at Gallaudet University where one section kept individual student blogs while the other section used traditional methods for completing writing assignments. Data was compiled to answer whether or not blogging is an effective tool. </li></ul><ul><li>Anonymous writing samples were collected from both sections. </li></ul><ul><li>Student writing was analyzed using the Gallaudet University Writing Rubric. </li></ul><ul><li>Students completed a one-page survey answering both dichotomous and open-ended questions about their experiences with the course writing assignments. </li></ul>Background 1 Methods 2 Data 3 Fall 2007 (n=12) Students in the developmental English course noted: Intrinsic Motivation & Personal Connections Making Connections & Building Relationships Ownership Usefulness & Flexibility Fall 2008 (n=28) Students collaborated via blogging & noted the benefits 68% looked at classmates blogs when confused with course reading 61% found this useful 100% read all of the required reading 68% admitted that they wouldn’t have if it weren’t for their blogs Fall 2009 (n=30: 17 blogging section/ 13 traditional section ) 94% of the students in the blogging section completed their writing assignments while 76% completed all of them in the traditional writing section. Students in the blogging section showed a slight improvement in the categories of Formatting & Citing, Critical Thinking, Organization of Ideas, and Audience Awareness. There was no significant difference in Written English Conventions based on the GU Writing Rubric. Conclusion Student blogging is a tool that promotes literacy and authentic reading and writing.  Researchers conclude that student blogging encourages engagement in learning (Ferdig & Trammell, 2004).  Since blogs include both written and graphic components where text along with visuals come together to form meaning, blogging may hold an added benefit for deaf students. Kluth (2008) reports that research on visual supports, including graphic organizers, handouts, manipulatives, and other visual representations of information are imperative for deaf and hard of hearing students when they are learning to read and understand content information. Many deaf and hard of hearing students are considered visual learners who benefit from graphically represented content (Kluth, 170). Findings included that blogging fosters academic and personal writing, offers authentic opportunities to practice English, and builds a community of trust and respect among classmates. 6 <ul><li>Student engagement – participating in the conversation & their learning </li></ul><ul><li>Authentic voice </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction and Awareness of Diverse Perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Empowers students </li></ul><ul><li>Creates a learning community </li></ul><ul><li>Extends the audience for writing beyond the teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Allows for instant and continuous feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Supports differentiation </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages Reading , Reflecting , Writing </li></ul><ul><li>Builds technology skills </li></ul>Concerns with Student Blogging 5 <ul><li>Privacy Concerns- discuss pseudonyms </li></ul><ul><li>Legalities of Online Content- make sure students read and understand the terms of service which is nearly impossible since it will be written in legal terms. That being said, this opens a larger discussion on the importance of plagiarism and citing sources. (i.e. link to articles and cite sources </li></ul><ul><li>Fair Use- for purposes of criticism, comment, and </li></ul><ul><li>research there is no infringement of copyright </li></ul>4 Benefits of Student Blogging