Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Christopher Chan, Dianne Cmor (2009) Blogging toward Information Literacy: Engaging Students and Facilitating Peer Learning, Reference Services Review (2009) Volume: 37, Issue: 4, Pages: 395-407

The purpose of this paper is to describe how a course-integrated blog is used to facilitate the learning of information literacy skills. It also reports on how the effectiveness of the blog is evaluated.  The blog is made the centerpiece of library support offered to a first-year politics course. With the support of the faculty member involved, students are required to post answers to weekly library research skills questions posted to the blog. The quality of student responses is examined using a simple assessment rubric. Also, a survey is administered to students to determine perceived usefulness. Findings The evaluation of blog posts shows that the quality of answers is generally very good. Students put effort into their responses and most give accurate and thorough answers. The results of the survey indicate that most students feel the blog is useful to their learning, both in terms of general information skills, and in terms of helping research the term paper for the course. These results reflect just one course at a single university, therefore it is not possible to use the findings to make generalizations. The study could serve as a starting point for further inquiry into the evaluation of blogs as a support tool. While others have reported on using blogs in a similar manner, this study also attempts a thorough evaluation of the efficacy of the blog in helping students learn. Given the positive results of this evaluation, librarians could consider using blogs and other Web 2.0 tools to engage students in their own learning.

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