David Jones and Angie Voela, MA Psychosocial Studies by Distance Learning
On the MA Psychosocial Studies by Distance Learning programme within the School of Law and Social Sciences, blogs within Moodle constitute part of the assessment criteria. Students are encouraged to use their blog to demonstrate their reflective thinking and assessed on the quality and consistency of their blog postings.
The OU Blog activity in Moodle has been developed by the Open University and provides greater flexibility than the standard Moodle blog system. OU blogs can be set up to be course-wide blogs (everyone in the course posts to the same blog), group blogs, or individual blogs.
On the introductory module on the programme, the option selected for the blog is ‘Individual blogs are used privately’ – ie, Individual users can only post to and see their own blogs. Tutors only can comment on blog postings. As the introductory module in the programme it was felt that this option would be potentially less intimidating for a new student who is unfamiliar with the concept of blogging. This option allows the tutor to nurture each student’s progress in their expression of their reflective thinking blog without a fear of counter-productive criticism from peers. By the end of the module, it is hoped that students are confident with the mechanics of blogging.
For the second module in the programme, the blog differs in that all students on the module can view and comment on each other’s blogs (ie. The ‘Visible individual blogs’ option). The idea is that once students are more experienced in the basics of blogging, a slightly more collaborative approach will help to stimulate constructive discussion between all participants on the course.
When it comes to assessing blog postings. whichever blog option is chosen, a drop-down list of students allows the tutor to quickly view participation in the blogs by each user.
Guide on Using the OU Blog in Moodle