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Student use of blogs and mobiles

September 1, 2010

I’ve done a little quick-&-dirty research on use of blogs and mobiles on H800 as part of my end of course assignment, and publish the results here in case anyone else finds the data useful.

1. Course-related blogging

Seven months into the course, I counted 70 students who were maintaining or had maintained course-related blogs – just over half the enrolled student cohort. I don’t know how many students had dropped out by Week 29, but a fairly conservative drop-out rate of 15% would push 70 student bloggers up to nearly two-thirds of the still-participating cohort. Of those 70, 80% had begun their blogs on H800, the remainder starting to blog on previous MAODE courses or elsewhere.

Student bloggers’ productivity ranged from just three posts and less than 1000 words, to more than 100 posts and well over 50,000 words. Most bloggers posted several times a month, and around half received regular comments from fellow students, where regular = a comment:post ratio of 1 or more.

Clearly, a substantial minority of students – more than 33% – blogged reluctantly or not at all. But it’s clear too that for many H800 students, blogging was an important part of their experience as learners.

2. Mobiles for learning

Eighteen students took part in my online survey of mobile usage on H800 during Weeks 28 and 29. I have no idea how representative the sample might be of the cohort as a whole.

More than 8 in 10 respondents (83%) reported using “mobile phones or other mobile devices to help with their H800 studies”. Of these, the vast majority (87%) used pocket-sized devices for this purpose – mobile phones, smart-phones, iPod touches etc – the remainder using a netbook or iPad.

In joint first place, the two most popular types of mobile study support were “To access the course website/VLE” and “To read posts in the tutor group forum”; with “To read or write H800-related updates to Twitter” and “To communicate with other students” sharing second place. The table shows all the use-type responses in order of popularity.

Finally, I asked all respondents “how important is mobile functionality to you as a learner?” Just under three quarters – 71% – replied “really important” to this question, with 29% saying “useful but inessential” and 6% “not important”.

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From → H800

7 Comments
  1. Sylvia Moessinger permalink

    Hallo John

    that is really great work, thanks a lot. I choose blogs as one technology for the ECA and thought about using the blog behaviour and frequency of use in my group as an example. May I use your research results in my ECA?

    And by the way this page looks great, I just recently got an account with wordpress but didn’t know that you can even create a navigation like you have. I might come back to ask you some question how you organized it, but first the ECA.

    Sylvia

    • johnmill permalink

      howdy sylvia – yes of course you may. & I’d be happy to answer any questions about customising wordpress – its v easy!
      best, john

      • Ok, after searching countless hours without success to create a navigation like you have below your header (Home, About etc.) I give up and would appreciate if you tell me how you did it. I went to menues, widgets, etc. nothing brought the desired result and since I start H808 and H810 tomorrow I would like to keep them seperate.

    • johnmill permalink

      Ok – you might have to use the same theme to get exactly the same navigation – it’s called Titan. In your dashboard select ‘Categories’ from the left hand menu. the categories you create shd appear as buttons below the banner like mine. then when you create each post you assign it a category.
      hope that helps,
      john

      • Thanks John,

        I was already there, I had the categories but I now figured out that they show up first when you writie your first post and assign it to the category, then they become visible. So thanks a lot for your help and good luck with your ECA.

        Sylvia

  2. Sylvia Moessinger permalink

    Hallo John,

    I conducted as well a ‘little’ quantitative research in my tutor group but found out that blogging is here less enthuasiastically embraced as in the overall H800 group. Further research would be needed to explore the reasons, but most stated they saw blog and forum as competing tools and they did not want to write things twice and with the great workload the decided to stay focused on the forum to achieve good marks there as it was marked. Results can be found in my OU blog – http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/view.php?user=126345

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