Can Weblogs and Microblogs Change Traditional Scientific Writing?
2. Weblogs – Microblog - Blogosphere
3. The Study
- Reflection: Students have to rethink the presentation of the experts and form their very own opinion. Critical thinking and awareness about technology impacts and effects is the target of the lecture.
- Discussion: Due to the fact that discussions lead to more than one perspective on a specific topic, these enhance the visible spectrum for each learner.
- Quality: The major critics concerning the content of subjective user-driven essays concern a lack of scientific quality. Hence it must be ensured that arguments and opinions are strongly based on usual scientific rules, methods and approaches.
4. Didactical Concept
- Scientific Writer: Students attending this group have to write two short essays about topics of their own choice. In a very traditional way text documents were provided at a specific deadline to the learning platform.
- Scientific Reviewer: Similar to reviewers of publications, these students take the essays of the Writer Group and review them. Each student has to review at least 4 documents. So each essay has at least 2 reviews.
- Blogger: The blogging group handles a community weblog to the lectures’ topics. Providing at least two weblog-posts a week is the main task of these learners.
- Microblogger: The last group is about Microblogging. Students attending this group have to post at least two microblogs each week and further comment at least two blog posts of the blogger group.
- The journey is the reward: One of the big disadvantages of the learn methods, accomplished in preceding years was that learners wrote their essays only immediately before the deadlines. Discussions did not occur due to the fact that students did not follow the content of the lecture just in time. With the help of weblogs and the requirement to provide at least 2 posts each semester week it is ensured that learners bear the content in mind during the whole semester. Microbloggers bring also new stuff to the blogging community by commenting and posting short microblogs.
- Digital content: One of the major problems of text documents is that it is restricted to the static content, like text or photos. It is hard to provide interactive content like videos, animations, learning objects and so on. With the help of weblogs it becomes easy to provide, reflect and discuss that kind of contents.
- Community / Networking: A blogging student has to write his contributions to a so called community weblog about his/her chosen topic. Of course every learner can observe what his/her colleagues are writing and discussing. From a research point of view this might lead to an implicit information exchange – students never read long essays from other students, but maybe look at short contributions, videos, bookmarks if they are placed immediately to their working environment. Furthermore this kind of weblog should also help the learners feel that they are part of the writing community instead of “writing to pass the lecture”.
5. Technical Concept
6. Evaluation Results – The point of view of the students
Research Question 1: Before the start of the lecture I
- did not know about Microblogging (1).
- have already heard about Microblogging (2).
- have already used Microblogging for at least once (3).
- have already been an active Microblogger (4).
Research Question 2: Have you ever read your reviews you got from your colleagues?
Research Question 3: What do you think about the use of Microblogging in Higher Education?
- It is maybe useful for a kind of virtual announcements – lecture schedules as well as sharing different resources can be posted via the microblog stream
- Exchange of information – microblogs can work as enhancement of traditional newsgroups
- Microblogs can be used for fast discussion about several topics or even lectures
- Microblogs help to share links and short ideas
- Microblogs are useful to give a hint to a Weblog contribution
- It is a new and different way for discussions and it needs some times to realize how microblogs are working. Newsgroups are much more comfortable
- Problems of Microblogs are that the contributions are public.
- Microblogging is a quick possibility to share thoughts and discuss with different people
- Microblogging is interesting and should be combined with existing communication infrastructure (newsgroups, discussion forums ..)
- Microblogging leads to a new kind of information flow – nice add on
- Interesting for groups who are working on the same topic over a long time period
- Microblogging is a more interactive media between people of same interests
- Reflection: Due to the per-review concept the traditional writing groups and the bloggers provided much more personal statements than in years before. Independent of the technology used it can be pointed out that this methodology is definitely an appropriate possibility to allow more critical and personal statements.
- Moreover, it must be pointed out that especially the Blogger group unknowingly wrote more and more personal notes. After a first phase of providing links, pictures or videos it seems that even the WorldWideWeb is an endless resource because students turned more and more to personal statements and experiences due to the fact that the Internet provides no new stuff. Bloggers as well as microbloggers become over time more and more reflective.
- Discussion: Reviews as an element to start discussions did not work within this course. Concerning the didactical concept the lecturers hoped that students of the Scientific Writer group begin to comment the reviews they get. In the Weblog – Microblog setting some discussions about particularly provoking contributions appeared. This effect can be substantiated through the fact that commenting is easier, faster and requires much smaller statements. In former years similar experiments have been done where students were forced to do comments to other students contributions – but going through such discussions in the end of the course pointed out that the comments were as short as possible and boring. Mandatory discussion contributions lead to no increasing lecture outcome.
- Quality: In all groups the quality increases considerably in comparison to preceding years. Not only because of an automatically plagiarism check, but also because of the knowledge that the articles and contributions will be reviewed and commented.
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Ebner, M.; Maurer, H. Can Weblogs and Microblogs Change Traditional Scientific Writing? Future Internet 2009, 1, 47-58. https://doi.org/10.3390/fi1010047
Ebner M, Maurer H. Can Weblogs and Microblogs Change Traditional Scientific Writing? Future Internet. 2009; 1(1):47-58. https://doi.org/10.3390/fi1010047Chicago/Turabian Style
Ebner, Martin, and Hermann Maurer. 2009. "Can Weblogs and Microblogs Change Traditional Scientific Writing?" Future Internet 1, no. 1: 47-58. https://doi.org/10.3390/fi1010047