Posted by: MandyS | April 19, 2013

Blogs and blogging

Block 2, Week 10, Activity 5: Kerawalla et. al. Characterising the different blogging behaviours of students on an online distance learning course

What if anything surprises you about the findings from Kerawalla and her colleagues?

I don’t think anything really surprises me about the findings as I think they are a fair representation as to how students’ view blogging. I doubt many would actually do it unless there was a need and I think this is evidenced from the study. What was interesting was the diverse nature of behaviour students either get to like it and make it their own, using it as a tool within a tool, or they just simply grin and bare it and hope for it all to be over.

If you already blog, which of the purposes is most important to you? Or do you do it for some other reason?

My blog is definitely my personal journal, which I use to try to order my own thoughts about the activities I undertake. I don’t intend it as a resource but if it is then that’s fine. I must admit, when I was trying to get my head around Activity Theory last year, I relied on the interpretation of others to get me on the right track.

Based on the recommendations in the paper, or your own experience of blogging, how would you design activities to encourage learners to blog and to read and comment on each other’s blogs?

I think the important thing about a blog is that it is your personal space where you discuss what you want. I see real benefit in students being encouraged to use a blog to reflect on what they are studying but they must be left to make their own decision as to how they go about doing so. They need to be reassured there is no right or wrong way. I started my blogging life on H808 (ironically the elearning professional module Kerawalla used for her study). My first tentative steps were on the OU blog facility and anyone venturing there will realise I was less than confident at first. What I quickly came to realise is that blogging is a bit like asking a rhetorical question; you answer your own questions and you vent your frustrations with yourself. Blogging may be a social tool but sociability is not key. For that reason, I think any activity has to have a staged approach; baby steps at first with reading and commenting only coming once all students are comfortable with talking to themselves. From my own experience, one eventually craves interaction, if only to provide some reassurance that what one is saying is not just a load of gibberish. As my confidence with blogging grew, I found I actually outgrew the OU blog and craved something more elaborate; not that I do anything different here but at least I could if I wanted to.



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