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Blog boost learning in Malaysia


20 January 2010

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The need for exchanging knowledge outside classroom has resulted to the creation of a unique networking blog, Multiply. Besides fostering a sustainable learning environment, it also allows students to experiment with creative writing.

Today’s students are avid users of technology. How best can teachers interact with them? Dr Supli Effendi Rahim, Lecturer, University Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Malaysia told FutureGov how he successfully engaged students and sustained a learning community outside of the classroom using a networking blog platform.

Rahim experienced several limitations when using UPSI’s legacy ICT system. He was unable to post files online to share with students, design and conduct an online programme, and carry out one-to-one conversations with students.

In search for electronic learning platforms, Rahim experimented with ‘Multiply’, a social networking blog web site.

Everyone has a personalised blog which was connected to Rahim and other course mates, creating a unique online community for each module. Groups were also created based on various lecture topics, such as air pollution, biodiversity and environment management.

Notes, guides for assignments, links, videos, photos, grades and announcements were posted on Multiply. Besides downloading these files and lesson materials, students contributed to the knowledge pool by posting new information from their own research and commenting on earlier posts.

“This platform allows students to move beyond being just readers and writers, but editors, collaborators and publishers,” said Rahim.

Students have been responding well to the use of this social networking blog. During the academic semester – January to April – the site attracted an average of 500 to 1000 views per month, with peaks of 2000 views for some months and lows of 100 views during school holidays. Rahim observed an improvement of grades by 35% since the implementation of Multiply.

A generation of young people today are used to communicating with one another through social networking sites. By using Multiply, Rahim has successfully closed the teacher-student gap and established closer relationships with his pupils.

The site supports private messages and instant messaging among users. “Many students appreciated the one-to-one online interaction with lecturers and said they would continue using multiply after graduation,” he added.

This project has proved how social networking sites, when used effectively, can greatly enhanced the learning dynamic for students. For Rahim and his class, it opened up learning opportunities that are not limited by time and space.

 
Source : Future Gov

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