I noticed that I haven’t blogged since I returned to the university in July 2012, after my leave ended. I find it hard to write regular blog entries as a faculty member. Blogging does not count towards my promotion and tenure review (PTR) and so it’s unfortunately fallen off my priority list. However, I do enjoy recording my thoughts and revisiting them, so here I go again.

My research expertise is focused on things like fostering productive online discussion and online formative assessment using social media rather than research on blogs, so I am not up on the blog literature. My general impression, though, is that there is not the same buzz about blogs that existed say five years ago.

For example, the New Media Consortium 2012 Horizon Report (and here is the K-12 edition) identifies technologies such as mobile devices & apps and tablet computing (time to adoption: one year or less), game-based learning, learning analytics (time to adoption: two to three years), gesture-based computing and internet of things (time to adoption: four to five years) in higher education. Interestingly, the technologies on the time-to-adoption horizon vary slightly between higher education and K-12. Personal Learning Environments replace learning analytics in the K-12 report for adoption in the next two to three years; similarly, augmented reality and natural user interfaces are in the K-12 report for adoption in the next four to five years instead of gesture-based computing and the internet of things. My B.Ed. instructional technology course certainly attempts to cover some of these emerging technologies, and some of my assessment research, especially in collaboration with Chris Teplovs, ventures into learning analytics research.

However, I’m getting off topic. I’ve recently been thinking about using blogs in my graduate courses in the Winter term. I’m teaching a blended research methods course and an online E-learning and Education course. I’ve experimented with using blogs as learning logs or reflection journals before (see http://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/view/517/247). However, I’m thinking of asking students to blog (publicly or privately, depending on students’ comfort level) because the Sakai-based LMS that I am using, CLEW, doesn’t seem particularly suited for keeping learning journals (at least in the particular way that I am using the Discussion or Forum tools). I experimented with getting students to use the Wiki tool for this purpose last year, but there were a couple of issues with using the Wiki. First, I really think the wiki is better at supporting collaborative writing rather than individual writing. Second, the students had some difficulty with using the Wiki markup language because it was different from say coding in html and from some other wiki markup languages that they already knew. So, I’m wondering if blogging would work.

Building on Wendy Freeman’s work, and from my own tentative experiences with MOOCs, I would use an aggregator so that students can easily read what their peers are writing. I would probably use reflection questions or metacognitive prompts to encourage students to engage in critical reflection. Need to think more about the technologies that I’ll be using. Besides CLEW, I’ll also be using Blackboard Collaborate. Lots to think about.


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