Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

The Effect of Using Cooperative and Individual Weblog to Enhance Writing Performance

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

The Effect of Using Cooperative and Individual Weblog to Enhance Writing Performance

Article excerpt

Introduction

According to Graham and Harris (2009), many students show limited writing performance due to the fact that they do not make a good writing plan, have difficulties in creating content, do not know how to use writing strategies, their revision of the writing process is not meaningful enough, and they do not make enough effort to write. Obviously, writing enters into all aspects of human life, especially nowadays in the age of the Internet and email.

Vincent's (2003) research in which an 11 year old student, who does not like to study writing activities and cannot write more than 1-2 lines of work in the paper-pencil studies, also supports this idea. In accordance with this argument, in her research that writing exercises through weblogs and social networks conducted by 3001 students aged between 12-13 years from 12 elementary and 12 middle schools, Clark (2009) stated that youngsters cannot make compound sentences, do not have a wide range of vocabulary or use a variety of words in their writings, and furthermore, they do not pay attention to capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

In order to improve writing performance, students should observe the environment dedicatedly, and produce ideas on what they have observed and read. Then they must show their improvements gained through these means in the appropriate learning environments with the support of an effective teaching plan enhanced by various techniques (Chaffee, McMahon and Stout, 2004).

It was notable in the literature that cooperative learning is suggested to teach writing effectively. For instance, Johnson, Johnson and Stanne (2000) expressed that cooperative learning enables students to work together for both their own learning and the other group members' learning. It also enables each student to take responsibility for group members' learning. Santangelo and Olinghouse (2009) and Graham and Perrin (2007) also state that well constructed cooperative writing activities help students learn from each other and share their cultural backgrounds. In addition, it increases the quality of writing activities. Similarly, Santangelo, Harris and Graham (2007) indicate that cooperative writing activities give students the opportunity to take an active role in planning their writing with their peers and teachers through positive interaction, writing, revising, and editing.

Developing cooperative writing activities that have the abovementioned characteristics in an enjoyable learning environment that attracts students' attention and enables them to socially interact with their peers and teachers without constraints on time or place is very important to increase writing performance. An online learning environment is the first environment that comes to mind in accordance with the qualities indicated above. Davidson-Shivers and Rasmussen (2006) define an online learning environment as an environment that any type of tasks can be given and in which students interact with each other and their teachers without face-to-face interaction, as in the classroom. In order to overcome this limitation, conventional face-to-face learning and online learning can be combined to create an effective learning environment for writing activities. That is to say that the strong interaction and communication opportunities that face-to-face learning offers and online learning's advantage of being independent of time and setting have fostered the idea of developing an environment for teaching writing based on blended learning, which combines face-to-face learning and online learning.

A literature review revealed that blended learning is generally defined as the integration of internet-based learning and face-to-face learning (Bonk and Graham, 2006; Kerres and Witt, 2003; Rooney, 2003). In an effective blended learning environment, learning tools, which include messenger, tele-video conferencing, debate rooms, forums, emails, and web 2. …

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