A study into the use of weblogs as a dialogic tool for supporting community, collaboration and reflection in distance learning environments
Dr Steven Warburton, Laws Consortium, University of London
Fitri Mohamad, Institute of Education
This project report details an investigation into the educational uses of a personal web publishing system based on student and tutor blogs linked via RSS (Really Simple Syndication ). The blogs were used to support interaction and dialogue across a fully online postgraduate distance learning programme in War Studies (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/wimw) at King’s College London. Thirty-five students and three course tutors were directed to set up blogs using the free Google ‘blogger’ tool (http://www.blogger.com) and then link these individual course blogs via Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com), a freely available newsfeed aggregation tool. The deployment of the student blogs was carefully integrated into the design of the course using the metaphor of a learning journal. It is worth noting that these journals, even though they formed a critical component of the course were not assessed, rather they left as personal spaces for personal development and interaction.
The results of this project cut across a number of dimensions that include reflective study, community formation, digital literacy, social presence, motivation, privacy, reputation management and self-identity.