The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Developing Writing Skills Through Weblogs

Emer Connolly, Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) (Ireland)


Many students struggle with writing at one time or another and find academic writing “daunting” (Carlse, 2019, p. 183) and the difficulties associated with it can cause students to disengage. One strategy I have used while lecturing in the media in two universities was to implement blogging into relevant writing-related modules. Lasica (2003) argues that weblogs (blog is short for weblog) provide an innovative way for people to express opinions and promote two-way communication. Many students complain that they have writer’s block and cannot complete a particular writing assignment as they face a mammoth task getting started. Freewriting or looping (Edwards, 2021) are useful ways of getting the writing started and when the topic is of interest to the writer as in the form of a blog it is more likely that the writing will continue. Blogging is very different to academic writing and adopts a more relaxed style. Nevertheless there are similarities across both forms of writing: the discipline, planning and development of ideas is consistent. First Year students were tasked with setting up a blog on a topic of their choice and to post one entry every week. They received prompt feedback on each entry so that they could apply it to subsequent entries. Marks were not awarded for blogs. Overall student engagement was excellent. There were many benefits to this strategy, three in particular: 1. Students’ writing skills developed and this benefited all of their writing tasks. Their motivation increased and engagement was enhanced. 2. It led to the creation of a more positive attitude towards writing, among most of the participants. Students stated that their ability to generate ideas for writing tasks improved and overall they stated that negative attitudes towards writing reduced. 3. It helped students to transition from second-level to third-level, in terms of their writing. Many students struggle to move from essay writing in second-level to a more formal academic writing style in third-level (Sefalane-Nkohla & Mtonjeni, 2019) and writing blogs helped with this transition, particularly helping students to gain more confidence in their writing.

Keywords Weblogs, blogging, academic writing 

Carlse J. E. (2019) Writing centre consultants as critical friends, Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus, 57, 183 – 194.
Edwards, A. (2021) Beat Your Writer’s Block, Super Quick Skills, London: Sage.
Lasica, J. D. (2003) Benefits Blogging Brings to News Outlets, Nieman Reports,  15 September 2003., accessed 14 March 2022.
Sefalane-Nkohla, P. and Mtonjeni, T. (2019) “We are not a ‘fix-it shop’”: The writing centre as a uniquely configured learning space, Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus, 57, 1- 23.


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