Bridging the distance: the use of blogs as reflective learning tools

Wolf, K. (2010). Bridging the distance: the use of blogs as reflective learning tools for placement students.  Higher Education Research & Development, 29(5), 589-602.

Wolf introduced web logs (‘blogs’), or online journals, within the context of a compulsory final-year placement unit for public relations students. The key objectives were to encourage the ongoing reflective practice of students and to reduce feelings of isolation commonly reported during the course of this individual tuition unit. The Unit Coordinator also wished to increase student unit quality assessments by introducing unit characteristics related to providing learning resources, the quality of teaching and the quality of ongoing feedback received by students. The key challenges were that the unit involved limited student-teacher or student-student contact time and was being run offshore in two different countries (Singapore & Mauritius). Introducing a blog met these criteria by allowing students having different public relations placement experiences to interact and practice their reflective practice skills. In addition, the coordinator was able to monitor student postings and post additional learning material relevant to the student issues raised. The outcomes were that unit quality assessment scores rose significantly, the unit developed an international flavor as students from overseas shared perspectives, and student interaction provided additional learning to that facilitated by the unit coordinator.

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