While previously the reserve of (mostly) geeks and teenagers, blogs are starting to be recognised as valid educational tools in distance and ‘blended’ teaching and learning. The Blogtalk 2005 Conference featured a range of papers devoted to the uses of blogs in higher education, the upcoming HigherEd BlogCon 2006 will be featuring a host of presentations on the area and the forthcoming publication Uses of Blogs will feature several chapters on the use of blogs and associated technology in Teaching and Learning.
This is not to say, however, that all of these ventures have been wildly successful or even that the majority have produced significantly different educational outcomes to those achieved by the use of more ‘traditional’ online teaching and learning environments such as those provided by Blackboard and WebCT. In light of this I presented the paper Blogs @ Anywhere at ASCILITE 2005 attempting to explore, through examination of the literature and personal experience, what factors have a particularly significant impact of the success, or otherwise, of the use of blogs in teaching and learning in tertiary education.
In this seminar I will highlight and reflect on these factors from a teacher’s, educational designer’s and an organisational perspective and outline current research I am conducting at Deakin. I will devote a significant amount of the session to discussion around how these factors might impact participants uses of blogs and associated technologies in the Health Sciences area. I hope that participants will leave the session with a keener sense as to how blogs may most effectively be incorporated into their teaching and learning practices and an interest in exploring the area further.
James Farmer is a Lecturer in the Institute of Teaching and Learning at Deakin University and the founder of the online education and social software organisation, incsub.org. A keen author in the area of blogs and other emerging technologies in teaching and learning he runs the service edublogs.org and publishes the blogs Incorporated Subversion and Blogsavvy. Originally from Birmingham in the UK he now lives and works in Melbourne. He finds it a little odd writing about himself in the third person but does it fairly often all the same.