The use of Internet technology to facilitate interaction, communication, and collaboration is well documented but its use in establishing and developing "personal voice" as part of learning is also now being addressed through the use of blogs. Finding personal voice as a pedagogical method is important to establish learner identity and focus, and journaling has long been recognized as an effective way to provide space for this to occur. The blog, however, provides a context in which personal voice can be "published" by the student, which means that attention is given to content, relevancy, and connection with learning outcomes to a higher degree than a traditional journal submission. The idea that more than one person will view the work is quite powerful in promoting a sense of ownership from the student. Teachers can also benefit from "hearing" the personal voice of their students to begin to really understand the learning path of each student through a course. The above is the opening paragraph in an article, Blogs in Higher Ed: Personal Voice as Part of Learning, published by Ruth Reynard in eLearning Dialogue. Here is the summary and recommendations from the article:
* Blogging must be integrated early in the course design and must be clearly connected to the course outcomes before it can become anything more than just an extra task for the students.
* Grading does seem to motivate the students, but it seems to be more effective to grade according to effort in relevancy to course content and outcomes than simply on numbers of submissions.
* There is an issue with privacy, particularly with older students. This should be addressed by emphasizing how to secure and share entries.
* Instructors need time to evaluate the importance of self-reflection as a methodological approach in learning as well as the value of integrating personal voice in the learning context. Otherwise the exercise will be perceived as futile to the students.
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