108-2 Delivery and Student Perceptions of a Blog Assignment.
Monday, October 23, 2017: 1:50 PM
Tampa Convention Center, Room 7
Writing assignments such as research essay, literature review, case study as well as analytical review of an article are staple components in many courses. These writing assignments accord opportunities for students to gain deeper understanding and awareness about a concept or topic. However, the downside is that these assignments involve and almost entirely benefit only two parties: the teacher and the one student who wrote it. An assignment that promotes learning in many students about a plethora of topics would be more beneficial. The use of blogs as writing assignment was used as a substitute to a term paper that is usually required in a senior-level Environmental Soil Science class. Students worked in pairs in preparing a blog about an assigned scientific topic. Students were provided with a rubric along with specific instructions to write the scientific blog in a conversational manner and limit it to 850 words. After submitting an initial draft for review by the instructor, the final version of all blogs were posted in a class blog site for everyone in the class to read and study ahead of scheduled quizzes about the blogs. Student survey reveal that all respondents (n=27) agree or strongly agree that writing a blog was a good way to learn a new topic and that reading other students’ blogs offered opportunities to learn new and interesting things. Eighty-five percent of the students prefer writing blogs instead of writing term papers. In addition, 64% of students disagreed or strongly disagreed that writing a full-length term paper would have offered more learning than writing a blog. According to the students, the biggest challenge with the blog assignments was keeping the blog below the 850-word limit. These results indicate that blogs could be viable alternatives to full-length term papers.