PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to present an integrated framework for designing and investigating students’ engagement patterns and learning presence in educational blogs. The framework was grounded on the ideas of self-directed and reflective learning, and was applied to analyse students’ blogging activities in the context of an undergraduate course.Design/methodology/approachThe proposed research framework was organized along three dimensions: content artefacts, blogging processes and community building. With regard to the methodological tools used, this study integrates content analysis of students’ posts using the framework of community of inquiry, the representation of learning mapping and social network analysis methods.FindingsThe results have revealed important information about the different ways of students’ engagement and learning presence within the blogging groups, the contribution and the influence each student had, as well as the structure and the cohesion of the learning community developed around the blogging project.Research limitations/implicationsThe findings of this study are limited by the blended course features, the specific sample and the context of implementation. Future research needs to consider and analyse students’ lurking or invisible presence in educational blogging communities.Practical implicationsThis study has yielded promising results with regard to the design of educational blogs in higher education that aim to enhance students’ engagement, reflection, collaboration and self-directed learning.Originality/valueThe originality concerns the proposed conceptual framework which can guide the design, monitoring and analysis of blogging processes in order to reveal students’ learning presence within self-directed communities of blogging.
Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 6, 2017