Blogs, Wikis, and E-Portfolios: The Effectiveness of Technology on Actual Learning in College Composition




Kennedy, Edith M.

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This study, as the title suggests, examines the effectiveness of using blogs, wikis, and e-portfolios in College Composition classes. The value of these tools was examined in their relationship with actual and real learning where these concepts are defined as the gaining of knowledge that is readily retrievable and is used in an active fashion that shows it has been integrated into the thought processes. The questions examined are whether or not there is a pedagogical underpinning to use these technologies and whether or not these tools really enhance student writing. Over the course of three semesters, the work of 207 students was examined to determine the effect of assigning work on blogs, wikis, and e-portfolios. The students were enrolled in College Composition I and College Composition II classes at Northern Virginia Community College, Manassas, Virginia. Students ranged from dual-enrolled high school students to traditional students and to those returning to class after an extended absence. Some students had previous experience with computers and others were novices. The pedagogical areas examined in this study are Time on Task, Collaboration, Peer Feedback, and Reflection. Using these criteria as indicators of success, the application of blogs, wikis, and e-portfolios did create a learning environment that enhanced the opportunity for student success. In addition, an examination of student writing showed an improvement in the composition of their academic prose across the duration of the courses. While there is a learning curve for students and instructors to master these technologies, they do contribute to actual learning in composition classrooms. This study will be of interest to teachers contemplating the use of or already utilizing technologies in the composition classroom with any level of student from high school to college graduate students. This document contains a discussion of the elements of each of the technologies under discussion, their application in composition classes, and their effectiveness. Ample use of student work is included to show the results of these assignments.



Collaboration, Self-reflection, Rhetoric, Community college, Peer feedback review