AM08 2008 START Conference Manager    

Course Blogging: An Investigation of Instructor and Students’ Use of Blogs

Leo Cao

ASIS&T 2008 Annual Meeting (AM08 2008)
Columbus, Ohio, October 24-29, 2008


This poster showcases a descriptive analysis of 2 semesters of implementation of blogs in an undergraduate Information and Library Science course at UNC-Chapel Hill, and investigates a number of emerging issues. The research interest for this work actually came after the implementations in practice. Several colleagues have inquired on its usage, and one actually adopted it immediately for his courses. Initial efforts to start an online blogging community of the class failed miserably, but the simple blog platform proved enormously useful as a hybrid communication tool that epitomizes digital informality.

Forming an online community never quite materialized because reading their peers’ posts were frankly, quite very boring, which was very true, especially when the only reason students make posts was because that was required of them – that part of blogging ended quickly. Instead, the main class blog morphed into a hybrid communication platform for the class, which crossed but did not completely replace the functions of email, powerpoint, and blackboard courseware – which were still used along with the blog.

The perspective of blogs being potentially revolutionary for education is based on the view that the active posting/commenting cycle of information flows that occurs in blogs on the open internet can be replicated in the classroom. That seems quite questionable given the fact that the underlying context and motivation for the activity is completely different – for personal interest vs. for evaluation. As evident by the fact that blogging activity by my students unanimously ceased at the end of the course, this is point consistent with reports in the literature. It may very well be admirable, but student responses on the blog as a hybrid communication/class management tool were quite interesting, even without the community aspect.

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