Students on the International Foundation Programme Understanding Society module were tasked by Sam Grierson to write 1,000-word Moodle blogs on a subject of their choice related to food. Students were given a large degree of freedom over the subject of their blog as long as they could demonstrate how it related to the topic. This worked particularly well given the wide range of interests among a diverse range of international students. Topics included animal rights, food safety and veganism. The Moodle blogs were used as an assessment tool that was both formative and summative. Students were encouraged to write in an informal style, use a wide range of reputable sources outside of just journal articles and think about hyperlinks, use of images and formatting. After submitting their blogs to Moodle, Sam tasked students with reading and commenting on each other’s blogs and responding to the comments on their own blogs. They then provided a summary statement and submitted the whole piece as a summative assessment.
The main aims of the Moodle blog were to increase student engagement, help students develop skill sets that they could take forward in their undergraduate journey and demonstrate to students the authenticity of this task and how blogs could be used in an academic context.
Sam Grierson, Warwick Foundation Studies
- Sam researched academic blogs in order to put together resources for the students.
- Sam provided the students with examples of a wide range of existing blogs, including audio-visual examples, written blogs and student blogs from previous years. Sam also provided the students with an instruction sheet and a well-defined marking rubric.
- Sam created a video for students explaining how to use Moodle as a blogging tool.
- Students posted their blogs on Moodle.
- After students submitted their blogs, Sam allocated students to read each other blogs and leave comments.
- Students then had to read all the comments left on their blog and provide a summary response.
- All in all, the assessment spanned a two-month period.
I really think that you can speak to a student’s academic ability in a calm and comfortable way that builds their confidence, and I think students definitely feel that through the Moodle blog. I also think it provides a nice joint way of moving forward between people who might be a little bit older and younger students because the blog is familiar to both generations.
The students were genuinely engaged with it and they were quite enthused…it created quite a buzz that they’d written something that other people were interested in.