Understanding promotions in student blogging #lak13

Blog posts as part of assessment. Student encouraged to promote each others’ work and use a variety of like ‘badges’ to flag good work. Aim to find out if high quality work was likely to be promoted by other students. Blogs were shared before assignment deadlines and could be used by other students to improve their own submitted work. Students required to post about a series of set topics and also required to make a reflective post using a blog template as well as comment on at least 2 other student blogs.

3 questions – did students actually promote other students’ work? Yes. Did they act on the promotion of another student’s work? Was there any link between quality and the number of promotions a post received? Some promotion was self perpetuating, that is, a popular post received more views and generated further promotions. 

Pilot study revealed that students actively promote posts as they read them, high quality material was largely promoted, students were seen to be generally reliable (some students are better promoters than others, some student do promote poor material, students became better as time went on). A suggestion that student promotions could be used as a highlighting mechanism in the blogosphere and as a means of making preliminary assessments for graders.  We can filter content based on student promotions and be reasonably confident that there’s a link to high quality, but be aware of the ‘that’s my friend, so I’ll promote their work’ factor.

About sharonslade

Dr Sharon Slade is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Law at the Open University in the UK working to support both tutors and students on Open University distance learning modules and programmes. Her research interests encompass ethical issues in learning analytics and online learning and tuition. Project work includes the development of a student support framework to improve retention and progression and the development of a university wide tool for tracking students and triggering relevant and targeted interventions. She led the development of new policy around the ethical use of learning analytics within the Open University, UK.
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