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Acceptance, Usage, and Communication Patters of a Blogging Exercise for Students

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In Germany openly accessible blogs for student education on the undergraduate level are still not very common. After explaining the ideas behind using a blog students were given the assignment to post at least two own entries and to comment at least five times on an openly accessible blog during the semester. The blog was centred on a common topic and all students were invited to the blog.

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Acceptance, Usage, and Communication Patters of a Blogging Exercise for Students

  1. 1. Acceptance, Usage, and Communication Patters of a Blogging Exercise for Students Ulrich Schrader mail@ulrich-schrader.de http://info.ulrich-schrader.de
  2. 2. Content by Adriaan Bloem • Weblogs • Application in Education • Exploratory study • Results of the study • Lessons learned Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  3. 3. Weblogs (Blogs) Entries (posts) are organized in a reverse chronological order (diary) • Others can comment on each entry • • 5 features typical (Paquet 2003) – Personal editorship – A hyperlinked structure of posts often linking to content on the internet – Frequent updates – Free public access to the content via the internet – Posts are archived • RSS-Feeds Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  4. 4. Blogs in Education • Acceptance, Attitude well studied • Not all applications were successful Partly due to technical problems (Review: Farmer and Bartlett-Bragg, 2005 ) Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  5. 5. Typical Application • One blog for all students • One task • Required number of posts per students • Required number of comments by students • Fixed time frame • In school environments access often limited to students and teachers, or defined groups (Example: Cooper and Boddington 2005) Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  6. 6. Exploratory Study by Kazze • Questions – How do students cope with such an exercise – Are there specific patterns or strategies emerging Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  7. 7. Study Group • Winter semester 2006/2007 by RichardAM • 29 nursing management students • Part time students employed as nurse managers parallel to their studies • Job experience prerequisite to study in this track • → Older students than usual! Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  8. 8. Blog Assignment • Students were invited to the blog • Write 2 own posts and comment on 5 others • Time frame: 153 days (November 17th, 2006 to April 18th, 2007 ) • Common topic – Research literature or the internet for sources that mention advantages of nursing information systems over traditional paper based solutions and write a short critical appraisal of the source and its contents. Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  9. 9. The Blog • Realized using Blogger (Google) • Freely visible – Not actively advertised • Students could use an alias for blogging • Blogger records date and time of a post or comment • No data when posts or comments are only read Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  10. 10. First Reaction of Students • At first apprehensive about being seen world-wide and by fellow students • Discussion about professionalism and using names on the internet – Last name and initial of first name (4) – First name or known nickname (16) – Fantasy name (9) • First external visitor leaving a comment after one week (total of 5) Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  11. 11. When did students start the exercise? Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  12. 12. Number of students 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 17.11.2006 24.11.2006 01.12.2006 08.12.2006 15.12.2006 22.12.2006 29.12.2006 Early adopters 05.01.2007 12.01.2007 19.01.2007 26.01.2007 Date 02.02.2007 09.02.2007 16.02.2007 Procrastinators 23.02.2007 02.03.2007 Cummulative frequency of students started with exercise 09.03.2007 16.03.2007 23.03.2007 30.03.2007
  13. 13. Number of students 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 17.11.2006 24.11.2006 01.12.2006 08.12.2006 15.12.2006 22.12.2006 29.12.2006 05.01.2007 12.01.2007 19.01.2007 26.01.2007 Date 02.02.2007 Day in computer lab 09.02.2007 Christmas 16.02.2007 23.02.2007 Lecture-free 02.03.2007 Cummulative frequency of students started with exercise 09.03.2007 16.03.2007 23.03.2007 30.03.2007
  14. 14. How long were students active in the blog? Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  15. 15. Duration of activity 6 10 days 5 5 5 5 number of students 4 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 0 0 0-1 2-5 6-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100 duration
  16. 16. Duration of activity 6 Publishing Communicating 5 5 5 5 number of students 4 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 0 0 0-1 2-5 6-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100 duration
  17. 17. Duration of activity vs. date of first entry 100 90 The duration of activity of students in the late group 80 duration of activity (days) was significantly less than 70 in the early group. 60 (α = 5%) 50 40 30 20 10 0 09.11.2006 09.12.2006 08.01.2007 07.02.2007 09.03.2007 08.04.2007 date of first entry by student student
  18. 18. Concurrent activity 04.04.2007 Date of start and end of activity 15.03.2007 23.02.2007 03.02.2007 About 8 students were 14.01.2007 active at any given time 25.12.2006 05.12.2006 15.11.2006 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 Students
  19. 19. Who did comment on whose posts? • 2 strategies tested – I comment on posts with a common topic – I comment on your post, you comment on my post Both strategies could not be seen! Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  20. 20. Distribution of time difference between post and comment 70 65 60 Posts in temporal proximity to the time of 50 activity were most often commented. Frequency 40 → Workload minimizing strategy 30 20 20 14 10 8 8 10 6 3 3 2 2 2 1 0 0 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 130-139 60-69 70-79 90-99 100-109 110-119 0-9 80-89 120-129 Days
  21. 21. Limitations (1) • The blog was observed with Google Analytics • Unfortunately no possibility to separate only reading visitors into students and external visitors Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  22. 22. Limitations (2) • Only small group of students (n = 29) • Significantly older than other students • Part time students in demanding jobs with family responsibilities • Managing background → quot;Lone wolf syndromquot; • Probably biased towards work saving strategies Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  23. 23. Problems by iirraa • Login – Login-process not understood by some – Invitation mails lost or not answered – Difference between learning management system and Blogger not understood by some – Change of login procedure due to Google acquiring Blogger • Formatting problems due to copy and paste from text processor to Blogger Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  24. 24. The blog was read in the German-speaking countries Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  25. 25. Lessons learned by sindesign • Assure that all students sign on and start posting early • Advertise blog - external visitors seem to motivate • Encourage a strategy of: quot;Do small pieces at a time and wait for others to respond. Build on their responses!quot; • Probably having personal blogs and individual topics could be better Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  26. 26. Summary • Blogging was accepted as challenging and motivating • Writing style seems to have improved • Having an audience seems to be motivating • Some technical problems still remain • The blog was more used for publishing than communication (quot;Do the work and get it done quickly!quot;) • To engage the students for a prolonged time could NOT be met for about half of the students Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  27. 27. … und where can I find more information? Just go to http://www.ulrich-schrader.de Thank you! Photo by Stephen Downes Ulrich Schrader, FH Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences

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