Patterns and Pedagogy: Exploring Student Blog Use in Higher Education

 

As social and collaborative technologies emerge, educators and scholars continue to explore and experiment with how these tools might impact pedagogy. For over a decade, educators experimented with the use of blogs in academic settings, a tool that allows for students and instructors to enter into a rich dialogue. With most technology tools, users often leave ‘digital footprints’ throughout the environment. These footprints, in combination with other sources of data, allow researchers to explore relationships between the tool itself and the different types of end users. This study examines two years of institutional blog data, combined with demographic data to help describe the users of a blog platform. Different clusters of users are uncovered, and various use cases are explored, illustrating how different instructors choose to leverage blogs in the flow of a course. Using analysis of variance (ANOVA) to compare different blogging groups, results show a strong correlation between entry-dominant bloggers and growth in Grade Point Average (GPA) over time. With the rise in popularity of learning analytics, the results of this study might influence future learning analytics tools and systems