Using Blogger for students to showcase their work and develop a set of skills to create a strong professional online presence.
Related pattern: Student as Producer
Dr Seth Brown wanted to position students with the skills for using an online blog publishing service (Blogger) for assignment submission. It was decided that a blog would be needed to be introduced to students, along with curriculum activities, to help strengthen their online presence, connectedness with other students, and as a showcase of their work.
Developing a strong and professional online identity takes time, and connectedness to others in the field. Arguably the best time to start or shape that identity is when you’re a student, surrounded by other students, and teaching staff. Curriculum activities can be geared toward exploiting this moment of connectedness so as to rapidly develop a student’s online identity and expertise in managing this realm.
According to Richardson and Swan (2003) “research has demonstrated that social presence not only affects outcomes but also student, and possibly instructor, satisfaction with a course”. Using Blogger provided the students with the opportunity to explore their social presence and choose how and when to use blogging as a means of assignment submission.
- An appropriate blogging platform was researched and agreed upon.
- Seth created his first blog live in front of the students during the lecture. It was iteratively developed and modified throughout the lecture.
- Discussions and activities were aligned with the blog’s use, including: standards for professional conduct, use of appropriate and professional photos, and use of videos.
- Authors (students) were provided with the opportunity to create their own blog. Although the blog was not open beyond the immediate student community, the opportunity for students to use a blog in a closed environment built their confidence and quickly created an opportunity for students to discuss the implications of managing a blog to create a strong professional online presence.
- www.blogger.com was used to develop the central website.
Tip: Consider the transferability of blogs when students leave the university.
Dr Seth Brown (Lecturer, School of Education)
Erika Beljaars-Harris (Educational Developer, College of Design and Social Context)