Blogging as a reflective tool

As part of their clinical placements (short term working placements in either hospitals or health clinics), the students in our department must write reflective pieces on their time at the placement where they look at things like their strengths, weaknesses, learning opportunities and clinical situations that raised issues for them.

This reflection is usually a typed page or two inserted into a file and submitted at the end of the placement.  Recently I’ve been wondering about the possibility of using blogging as a tool for our students to write their reflective journals, and encouraging other students on the same placements to to comment on each other’s work.

On one level I’m hoping that this will encourage further reflection based on feedback and discourse on both personal and clinical learning situations.  On another level, I’d like to use it to get students (and staff) to think about other concepts, such as the peer review process, the changing nature of academic publication and how knowledge is constructed through discourse.  I’m sure there’ll be plenty of other issues that are raised.

I also have anecdotal evidence that our students find it difficult to express themselves in clinical settings, for a variety of reasons, including not having English as a first language, which brings a subsequent lack of confidence when speaking in a group, as well as what seems to be an inferiority complex when confronted with students from other universities.  I’ve love for our students to be able to use this as an opportunity to find their own voices and tell their own stories in a semi-public space, which will still be a safe environment.

Here’s the article linked to in the post:
Academic blogging opens new world