Early in the development of Warwick Blogs we held a focus group with students to investigate their views on web publishing and blogging. The students were split into two groups, one focusing on academic uses of web publishing and the other group looking at recreational uses of web publishing.
In the first group, the students were given a list of "reasons for publishing academic related entries" and asked to assess which they thought were a good idea, and which they would do. They were also asked to consider who should be able to access them and comment on them. The results are shown in the following image:
In the second group, the students were given a list of "reasons for publishing recreational related entries" and asked to assess them in the same way:
The students in both groups were then given a list of "types or formats of entry" and asked to assess them:
In an entry published on the ITS Web Team's blog, one of the team reported that:
The response was positive, especially regarding the prospect of using web publishing in the module selection process and careers - the students seemed aware of PDP issues and interested in using technology to enhance the process. The students also showed great interest in photo galleries. Book reviews were seen as a good thing, although no one felt that they wanted to spend time writing them - they considered that rating books would be useful for other students and the library. The students believed that the provision of writing templates would help them to start and continue with blogging.
The group work was followed by an open discussion.