Wednesday, September 06, 2006

ALT-C 2006 - more on blogs, interaction and support

Rod and I spoke this afternoon as part of a 3 short paper session looking at aspects of using blogs and other support for learners and interaction.

Helen Keegan from University of Salford talked about 'Blogs as a support tool for international mobility students'. The study is part of the ESMOS ( project Enhancing mobility through online support), a Socrates/Minerva EU-funded project with partners in six countries. Aimed to look at which technologies could be used to provide support. Needs analysis study found a need for support during the study phase when outside their base country.

The reasons for choosing blogs included reflection and group activities, and potential for psychological and social support (inc. for nursing students working in hospital settings different from what they were used to). One group of BSc Nursing students and one group of BA social work students were in the study; Serendipity was used as the blog tool for the social work students, while the nursing students used a Blackboard plug-in. With the nursing group, a feeling of collaborative community of practice was developed, including a collaborative bibliography; students discussed emotive and psychological issues. The students in both groups felt comfortable expressing themselves on the blogs – says they can be used a s support tool.

Rod and I presented on what we have been doing as far as conference blogs - see for links to some of what we have done.

Sabine Little, University of Sheffield, talked about 'Facilitating inquiry-based learning from afar: educational research in the Caribbean'; not about blogs but other forms of support. She provided a very interesting report on hwo she had been developing a course for critical analysis/thinking/inquiry skills for cohorts of teachers in the Caribbean.

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