The learning outcomes of an online reflective journal in engineering
Palmer, Stuart, Holt, Dale and Bray, Sharyn 2008, The learning outcomes of an online reflective journal in engineering, in ASCILITE 2008 : Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology?, ASCILITE, [Melbourne, Vic.], pp. 724-732.
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Reflective thinking based on experiential learning is a key skill required for the lifelong learner and the socially mature professional. Following several semesters employing a written reflective journal as an assessable task, a fourth-year engineering management unit adopted an online reflective journal. During the initial semester of use, an evaluation was undertaken to investigate student perceptions of the online journal. A summary of this previous work is presented here. Following three semesters of use of the online journal, an analysis of the student use of the journal was undertaken to investigate its contribution to unit learning outcomes. Based on the evaluation of student perceptions of the online reflective journal, it was found that a majority of students understood the purpose of the journal, and valued the journal in their learning; a majority of students read the journal entries of other students, and indicated that this assisted their learning; and the two most frequently reported ‘most useful’ aspects of the journal were the ‘enforced’ continuous revision of course material, and the ability to compare their understanding of the course material with that of other students. Based on a regression analysis of the factors related to student usage of the online reflective journal, it was found that the significant contributors to final unit mark where: prior academic performance; number of journal postings; and mode of study. This research confirmed that the online reflective journal was fertile territory in the landscape of educational technology, both in terms of student perceptions and contribution to unit learning outcomes.
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