To Blog or not to Blog

Whilst I absolutley enjoy reading blogs with their more informal tone and options to engage with the blogger I am not much of a blogger myself. So far I have preferred to blog only as part of my OU course activities. There are argueably some benefits of blogging as an academic and student.

Reflective writing is a common requirement in many workplaces and in academia it has become a way for researchers to develop as ‘Digital scholars’ , someone who uses digital, networked and open approaches to demonstrate specialism in a field. Academics can ‘test the waters’ before publishing their research, by sharing their analytical process they can engage with a wider audience and research community (Weller, 2011).

A blog can function as a learning journal aiding reflective writing. Reflective writing is also a common requirement in education.  In a learning context it allows students to create deeper meaning and understanding of the content they are learning (Michaud,2015). One model that is widely used and has been around from some time is the cycle of reflection published by Professor Gibbs in Learning by Doing (1988).

  • Description – What happened?
  • Feeling – What were you thinking and feeling at the time?
  • What was good and bad about the experience?
  • Analysis – What sense can be made of the situation?
  • Conclusion – What else could have been done?
  • Action plan – What needs to be done next time?

Also of relevance is the concept introduced by Schön (Moon , 2013) of ‘reflection in action’ and ‘reflection on action’ and wether there are different levels of reflection. I believe as a learner it’s pretty hard to be reflecting in action especially if the subject area is new. Another element is what forum and technology/tool you wish to use. From a web 2.0 angle I guess you could compare the two tools Twitter and Blogs having certain affordances for certain reflection styles . Models like Gibbs’ are then more useful for blogging too.  It will hopefully assist me in blogging more often.

Gibbs, G. (1988) Learning by Doing: A Guide to Teaching and Learning Methods. Oxford: Further Educational Unit, Oxford Polytechnic.

Michaud, M. (2010) ‘Reflective Writing for College Students’ [online], Campus Life @ suite 101, article/ reflective-writing-for-college-students-a205546 (last accessed 15 February 2015).

Moon, J. A. (2013). Reflection in learning and professional development: Theory and practice. Routledge.

Weller, Martin (2011). The Digital Scholar: How Technology Is Transforming Scholarly Practice. Basingstoke: Bloomsbury Academic.