Date of Award

2005

Degree Name

M.A. in Communication

Department

Department of Communication

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the potential utility of weblogs within the classroom environment. The specific questions of interest surrounding use of weblogs in group projects included (1) influencing students’ anxiety related to group work, (2) assisting groups in meeting their expectations and achieving success, and (3) understanding how students perceived the weblog as a communicative tool within a small group context. Ninety undergraduate students attending a private Midwestern university participated in the study. All participants were enrolled in one of the multiple sections of the communication module course, Group Decision Making. Participants completed both a pretest and a posttest designed to measure students’ general level of anxiety when working in groups, expectations for the group project, and familiarity with forms of technology. In general, the use of weblogs had little influence on students’ level of anxiety, expectations, or group communication. While the lack of student postings to the weblogs during the group projects was a significant limitation to adequately addressing the research questions, the work does have important implications for future study with weblogs in classroom environments. The potential reasons for students’ lack of use included (1) length of the module courses, (2) need for additional instruction on use of weblogs, and (3) requiring that posting on the weblog be mandatory rather than voluntary. Additional recommendations for future research are also discussed.

Keywords

Group work in education Blogs, Classroom environment Blogs

Rights Statement

Copyright 2005, author

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