Finding the student voice in subject blogging

Schroeder, Maren and Sansom, Gemma (2014) Finding the student voice in subject blogging. In: Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference; 23-25 Apr 2014, Sheffield, U. K.. (Unpublished)


Kingston University’s Library and Learning Services launched a set of subject focussed blogs in September 2011 with the aim to provide more timely and relevant information than was previously available via the subject web pages. The blogs have been successful in attracting user views, but there is scope to provide more opportunities for interactivity through student collaboration. Blog content is currently conceived by the information advisors pulling inspiration from help desk and e-mail enquiries and information skills sessions. Scenario-based posts, storytelling, polls, images, embedded videos and regular posts on specific topics are the norm. As this approach lacks student input, feedback groups have been devised to observe student reactions to the blog’s clarity, coverage, navigation, images and interaction. These five elements have been selected as they can easily be changed by librarian bloggers. The feedback groups’ overall aims are: Students from the specific group targeted will become aware of their subject blog, Students will provide feedback against set criteria, Findings will be reported to the subject team providing the blog, Activity will be readily repeatable for other subject blogs or student groups, Students navigate around the blog independently until the facilitator draws them into a group conversation about the evaluated elements. Discussion areas are decided by the team producing the blog or by the facilitator. After the feedback groups the facilitator writes a report summarising feedback and recommending actions and emails it to students and to the team responsible for the blog. The information gathered provides evidence for future developments and potential topics to be featured in the blogs. These feedback rounds have been run for the “Health and Social Care” blog and the “Science, Engineering and Computing” blog at Kingston University. Further sessions are planned for the current academic year.

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