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

Research team:

Fitri Mohamad, Institute of Education

TRA 1 S Warburton (Final Report) [pdf, 210kb]

TRA1 S Warburton (Annex1) [pdf, 373kb]

TRA1 S Warburton (Annex2) [pdf, 144kb]

TRA1 S Warburton (Annex3) [pdf, 22kb]

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.

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