Name: Andiswa Mfengu
Course: LIS5032F - LIS Leadership and Management (Library and Information Studies)
Faculty: Humanities
Level: Postgraduate
Category: Expanding, enhancing or adapting
One sentence summary: Web blogs about contextually relevant topics were used as a tool for reflective thinking and peer learning.

Context: This was adapted from a previous assessment where we ask students to blog about specific topics (e.g. communication, leadership, etc.). In ERT, they could blog about any issue that would affect the discipline (e.g. how the pandemic was affecting libraries) and it could be reflective rather than a review of the literature.

Purpose: This blog tool was a formative assessment that students did throughout the course as a type of learning journal. They could then reflect back on what they’ve learnt as well as receive feedback that would aid in their final exam project.

Process: Students had to use the blog tool on Vula and make 6 blog entries. These counted 15% towards their final mark. They were also required to engage with their peer’s blogs and were assessed on peer engagement. The students were given about 3 months for this reflective assessment. It was a small class (7 students), so I provided public feedback on each student’s first blog post so everyone could learn, and this also encourages students.

Outcomes/ Lessons learned: This is a good tool for small classes particularly at PG level. Students responded well to the flexibility. I’d like to make the peer feedback more structured and expand the blogs to include more than just written communication. Connecting the work to students’ contexts and using contemporary issues was important. It also built a sense of community and support through sharing.

Recommendations: Blog assignments can be effective for PG classes as a way to get students to integrate disciplinary content with their own real life contexts.  They also lend themselves well to peer reviewing and feedback, if sufficient structure is provided.