Blogging as a University Tool for Teaching and Learning about Disability
A weblog, or blog, is a web-based publication consisting of periodic entries and articles authored by individuals or groups. Blogs have become a worldwide phenomenon due to their immediacy, ease of use, and informal feel akin to social networking websites. As a result, blogs present an opportunity for digitally mediated teaching and learning in a community of practice. This paper describes a university-level weblog project in which undergraduate and graduate students in a disability rehabilitation program engaged with local and global disability communities on disability-related issues by creating and participating in weblogs. Through the process of authoring and responding to blog posts, students enhanced their critical thinking, analysis, and multimedia publishing skills, improving their functional abilities in our digital world. Students integrated data selected from myriad sources through combinations of text, images, and web links to maximize the interactive format. Blog participation linked students directly to near and remote disability communities, including people with disabilities and professionals who work in disability-related services. By connecting with diverse people with disabilities, students explored societal constructions of disability, initiated broad group discussions and debates, and internalized core concepts in the course and across the disability studies curriculum. Through interaction with a wide range of disability-related professionals, students were able to reflect upon the work of disability services and to follow key developments in the field.
Keywords: Weblogs, Blog, Blogging, University Teaching, Digitally Mediated Learning
Dr. Sandra Hansmann
Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation, The Univeristy of Texas Pan American