Blogs in Higher Ed

Blogs in Higher Ed: Personal Voice as Part of Learning is a short article on four cases of blogs in higher education, including doctoral students, professionals, undergraduates and second language learners. The comments of the instructors and students make for a good read, and show the variety of reactions when a new technology is introduced into an older form (the university class). Some embrace it, some reject it and some learn to love it. However, the recommendations in the article miss the main point.

I think that the important lesson here is that good teaching and effective learning are the results of many factors. Blogs can be used to enhance the process, or they can distract from it. Missing from the recommendations are the links between the pedagogical framework, the instructors’ abilities, the learners’ capabilities and the technologies and tools available. I would suggest that if you wanted to increase self-reflection, and wanted to use blogs, then you might prepare the students with a framework, such as Marilyn Taylor’s learning cycle in formal learning – Disorientation, Exploration, Reorientation, Equilibrium (see page 53 of this PDF for more on Taylor’s model – Adult Learning from Theory to Practice).

Any technology will have effects (Enhance, Retrieve, Reverse, Obsolesce) on the learning process, and no technology is truly neutral. But we still need to base any formal learning environment on some pedagogical framework, or we will continue to just grab the next technology for no real reason.

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