Blogs.

Okay, so since I have started blogging there have been the wingers, the over enthusiastic, the ones who always write impressive things, and the ones who just type out anything and hope for the best: therefore I thought it would be nice to determine at the end of this if blogging is an effective tool in a university environment. 

I could quite happily join the wingers now I have brought this subject up, because I blooming hate doing blogs – it’s boring, and just a drag. I forget about them, end up doing them (as you can see from the time I have posted this) about two minutes before midnight when they are due in. BUT can this method be a useful teaching tool for the lecturers. Yes it demonstrates that we have been able to show an understanding of a research method or some statistical test, but the basics could be googled and bam there is an answer that you can ramble about in a blog for a bit.

Personally I preferred the weekly statistics tests that we had last year – the blogs are too relaxed and the informality of them to me makes me feel like they aren’t important. I am aware that this is extremely daft as they are ultimately a part of a degree and every comment and blog matters. But it’s just personal preference and this teaching method just really doesn’t work for me. Working under extreme pressure tends to have a better effect – hence leaving the blogs until the last possible minute and sitting weekly exams.

 

A lot of people have looked into whether blogging is in fact an effective tool and there are different views however it has been found to enhance a students learning and some poor bugger actually took the time to find 100 reasons as to why blogs are so good: http://www.onlinedegrees.org/100-reasons-why-you-should-use-blogs/ (please let me know if you manage to read all 100). One point that caught my attention that blogs are meant to be ‘fun’ and I think this is where a lot of lecturers etc are definitely a little kept in the dark because they are not fun at all. It’s a looming feeling knowing you have a blog to write and it’s not half as fun as playing sonic and eating ice cream. However like I have said previously it is personal preference.

 

Blogs just aren’t my thing but I am able to grasp as to why universities would like to use them as a teaching tool.

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16 thoughts on “Blogs.

  1. robinson8040 says:

    I’d say that in terms of moving teaching and understanding forward, blogging is quite effective. Yes, you may be able to just type out your ideas without much thought apart from the odd Wikipedia page but in terms of getting the top marks the you where you have to present a vaguely original idea with original thought. Rather than simply colouring in a dot on a piece of paper requiring little or no incorporation of ideas and knowledge you have learned as well as no skills key to presenting a scientific argument. You have to incorporate your statistical knowledge and argumentative and research skills in order to present evidence. Learning is much more than marks on a paper. Education is supposed to prepare you with the skills that you need for the outside world. Sir Ken Robinson highlights these points about learning in his talk on education and this is what universities are trying to do with by using by using blogs.

  2. felley says:

    I think you’re correct in saying that they allow the lecturers to see that a student has understood topics in research methods and statistics but this is only true for certain students. Many students do try to dodge doing heavily stats based blogs (I myself am guilty of this) because they find stats difficult. I think that blogs are a good way of demonstrating statistical knowledge without having to go in to great detail about the actual mathematics behind something. I find the blogs easier than I did the weekly tests last year and I also agree that the informailty of blogs makes them seem like they are of lesser importance. I know people from other universities who have also been asked to do weekly blogs on their courses too. Those who I have spoken to believe that they aren’t really a beneficial way of learning and although in some ways I do agree with this, there are still things about blogs which I do think aid learning. Some of the time with the assignments we are expected to write in a scientific manner, with blogs there’s more leniency to the way in which we write so we can explain the terms we have learned in our own way; conveying a better understanding of the topic at hand. Although it can sometimes feel like we have to do a big assignment every fortnight (because including the comments it’s quite a lot of work!) I think we do have it easier this year!

  3. I highly agree with your view in that you prefer the weekley statistic tests we had last year. Subsequent research conducted by Roediger and Karpicke (2006) demonstrated that taking memory tests improves long term retention of material. Therefore, last year, because we were given weekly tests, this improve our long term recall of that material, and aid us in our exams. Although blogging enables us to improve our debating skills and our critical thinking, it doesn’t have as much as an impact on our memory as weekly tests do. In conclusion, i believe we should eliminate blogging and return to carrying out weekly statistics tests.

  4. psuc41 says:

    I completely agree with you, and also dislike writing the blogs, and as you state, a research topic can be easily Googled which is what some, if not most students probably do. Having said this, using blogs as a teaching method is very popular within secondary and universities nowadays, it is a way of getting the students to search for information on a certain topic themselves rather than relying on the teacher / lecturer to just give the information to them. Blogs are said to be motivational to students, especially to those who do not participate in the classroom setting; blogs are also a way for students to put their own views and opinions over, creating an argument and a healthy debate on certain topics, and also enhance student’s writing skills. Blogging is apparently an effective way of increasking one’s knowledge, but once again, any person can Google a topic! Therefore I disagree with the people who come up with new teaching techniques, blogging is too easy for students, and I too preferred the weekly tests, as it was more formal and I felt that I would learn more as I had to revise for the tests, not simply Google it.

    http://www.honeycombtools.com/downloads/pdfs/The%20Benefits%20of%20Blogging.pdf

  5. Pumpkin Queen says:

    I have to admit that I rather do agree with your point of view on the weekly blogs and on the weekly tests. It has been shown that being frequently tested on subject matter can help you to remember the matter better. Karpicke 2007 found that repeated recall during learning is the key to long term retention. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749596X06001367)
    however I can also why the university would want to start moving with the times. with more of s spending more and more time on the internet they maybe thought we wouldnt find it to bad and they may think it would just be like a normal blog. however there is a lot of pressure on one of these blogs.

  6. psuc27 says:

    The use of writing blogs to aid our learning and understanding of stats has become a very controversial topic for everyone this year! And the benefit, as you have said, is that it does help the lectures to see that we have understood and can apply our statistics knowledge but in terms of actually benefiting us… well I am in agreement that the weekly tests helped us more as we were able to see what we knew and what we didn’t know and then know what to improve on and i think in terms of improving our knowledge of statistics long term it would have been perhaps better to stick to the weekly tests. There is also a lot of research supporting the idea of retesting and its improvement on memory and retention of material (e.g. Erdelyi & Becker, 1974; Roediger & Karpicke, 2006; Roediger et al., 1982; Bunting, Cowan, & Saults, 2006). Which perhaps asks the question, with all this research, why did we change to weekly blogging?

  7. 1jessicakes says:

    I must disagree; the weekly stats tests felt rushed and poorly explained to me. Going away and being told to read a chapter of a textbook every week was just not ‘fun’ or engaging, and in fact, caused a lot of stress and hassle when I didn’t understand a certain calculation (I felt those books were often poorly explained and difficult to do yourself). With these blogs; the literary experence keeps me on my toes! It’s students-teaching-students; and I think that’s a wonderful thing to have! I always come away thinking “Wow, I’ve learned XYZ all in the few hours it’s taken me to write and comment on blogs” and that was far more than what I was learning in weekly tests! There is a lot of experience to gain from the learning-by-teaching process (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_by_teaching) and there are always one or two blogs each week in particular that stand out to me; these help me understand further in lessons and essays. Writing and researching are important skills; why learn the ins and outs of stats if there is a calculator and SPSS to do it all for us? (Although that’s probably because I’m much more of an English enthusiast rather than a Maths enthusiast!)

  8. […] 2. https://repugh18.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/blogs/#comment-53 […]

  9. tinkybelle says:

    Ooooh…brave and controversial!! I love it!!! I too found the “100 reasons why you should use blogs” when I was trying to convince myself why I was having to write these things and having re-read it I actually think that there are more valid reasons for ‘educators’ in the use of blogs than for ‘students’… I mean point 23.”Blogs save paper”…really?? You are kidding about this being an advantage, and point 50 “blogs are relevant” – well yes, but then so is any piece of work set within a module!! Okay, whinge over!! On a more serious note though, I can appreciate the value of blogs – they can help develop ones writing skills, and ones ability to relate opinions, thoughts and findings to a wide range of readers. I think that the problem arises in the subject of the blogs. It is essential that we understand statistics and feel confident in using them, but personally I don’t feel as though I have actually learned anything statistic –y from writing blogs, and am with everyone else in finding weekly tests far more valuable. On the whole I think that blogs would have been a far more effective learning method if POPPS was given a larger weighting and blogging was used as a part of that.

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