The characteristics of tutor blogging predicting student reflection in blogs

Karmen Kalk, Piret Luik, Merle Taimalu

During the learning process students need time, space and interaction with peers and tutors. One way to fulfil these conditions is to apply e-learning tools, for example blogs. An important part of teacher training is reflection, and it needs attention. The learning process is influenced by several factors and one is the participation of the tutor. Previous studies have indicated that tutor participation in the learning process can influence student reflection, but not all the activities by the tutor are effective. However, it is important to examine more specifically how tutors can support student reflection through interacting in the blog. The aim of this study is to find out what characteristics of tutor blogging predict the level of re-flection in blog posts by student teachers and induction year teachers. The sample consisted of 207 student teachers and induction year teachers, and 29 tutors from two Estonian universities. All students had the opportunity to communicate with each other and with their tutor in the blog. Characteristics of tutor blogging and the level of student reflection were identified in blog posts using a quantitative content analysis. A stepwise multiple regression analysis indicated that five significant characteristics of the content of blog posts by tutors and one characteristic of how active their blogging was predicted reflection in the blog on the part of the students. These include communication with students, actively writing in the blog, blog posts about success, reflective blog posts, posts about the tutors’ experience and posting questions in the blog.