I’ve decided to focus this week on something that is a large part of this module. Are there any benefits to blogging? Can they enable students to learn independently or are teachers using them as a ‘get out’ so they have less to teach?
When blogs were introduced to us in year 2 in the research methods and statistics module, I was not a fan. I’ve always struggled with the stats side of psychology at Bangor, and the thought of having to blog about it fortnightly, quite frankly scared me! Furthermore, the thought of having to comment on other student’s blogs, trying to pretend I knew what I was talking about, was even worse. However, after a few weeks practice I actually started to enjoy it, building stats into real world examples made it easier for me to understand, and the fact that I could introduce stats into my own world examples, made it less of a chore to learn about. When choosing modules, the fact that Science of Education focused primarily on blogging drew me into picking it, not only am I completely useless at exams, the fact I could learn something new independently and use my newly acquired ‘blogging’ skills was something I was looking forward too.
Advantages: Since blogging I feel like I have learnt a lot about the subject area I was posting about, therefore, I feel blogging about Science of Education will enable me to teach myself about areas of the topic that are interesting to me. Julie Northam wrote an article (http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2012/01/11/the-benefits-of-academic-blogging-should-you-enter-the-blogosphere/) where she focuses on the benefits of blogging in the academic world, she states that academics who blog regularly report positive outcomes including networking and finding new audiences, they feel that through the process of blogging they can extend their area of expertise to everyone through the internet, and find new people interested in the research they are carrying out. Blogging can allow universities to interact and connect with society in different ways. A review into the benefits of blogging within schools (http://theschoolbloggers.co.uk/school-blogs-benefits/blogging-in-the-classroom/) found that blogging can be adapted to help students of all abilities; it can be adapted to fit their needs. It has also been seen to improve a range of students abilities, both with writing skills and ICT skills, they become more willing to write, as they are writing about a topic that interests them, and therefore the chore of writing fades away as they become more engaged in the process. Moving away from the educational benefits of blogging, another article (http://www.businessesgrow.com/2012/09/04/five-unexpected-benefits-of-blogging/) has written about to psychological benefits of blogging, writing about feelings and thoughts after a traumatic period in life can often help alleviate the burden felt by individuals, with many therapists now suggesting blogging to their clients as a form of release.
Disadvantages: As much as I am a fan of blogging and having the ability to learn independently, I have struggled with the concept of commenting on other peoples work and receiving comments on my own. I received ‘non-helpful’ comments on my statistics blog last year, with remarks on my use of grammar and spelling, something I did not feel was helpful when already anxious about blogging on an area I struggled with. The process of blogging can also be very time consuming. With academic blogs being part of a module, they are of course deadlined, however, this can make students rush their work or struggle with a topic area. Johnson (2005) carried out research into The Use of Blogs as a Knowledge Management Tool, his studies involved students completing blogs using different methods and then commenting on how they found the process. The main disadvantage was that students felt uncomfortable commenting on other peoples blogs, however Hurlburt (2008) notes that these feelings of insecurity are usually temporary and vanish as the students get more comfortable with the class and their peers. Another downside was that some students found their peers wrote far too much and found it difficult to pinpoint an exact argument to comment and research further into (http://rapidintellect.com/AEQweb/cho4462z9.htm).
These are just some of the advantages and disadvantages of blogging, and some of them have been researched into based primarily on my view on the process. I’m aware that other people will hold different opinions into their blogging experience.