About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2369-2373
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain

AS GOOD AS IT GETS? A YEAR EXPERIENCE TALE ABOUT A BLOG DESIGNED FOR MICROBIOLOGY STUDENTS

M. Sánchez

Universidad Miguel Hernández (SPAIN)
One of the aims of the Bologna Process is to make European Higher Education more attractive for Europeans and for students and scholars from other continents. Several academic and policy-education institutions have encouraged the use of the web and the new communication technologies to achieve that task, by organizing seminars and courses for the teachers.

In january 2008 I launched the blog Curiosities of the Microbiological World (http://curiosidadesdelamicrobiologia.blogspot.com/). The main reason for the blog was to look forward a highest participation of the students in its own learning by allowing free and anonymous access to comment in the blog entries. The principal focus of the blog was to be a complement of the subjects that I teach in the following degrees: Environmental Sciences and Biochemistry Sciences. I used to select unexpected scientific news about microbiology instead of merely describe the usual themes that can be found in textbooks of that particular field of knowledge. One month later I launched another blog: Problems in Microbiology (http://problemas-microbiologia.blogspot.com/) looking forward a more active participation of the alumni in practical questions of the field. This last blog requires the identification of the student in order to send its solution for the different practical problems, but the participation is voluntary.

Since its start, 62 entries have been published in Curiosities of the Microbiological World. Some entries have been published in collaboration with another blog: Those small bugs (http://weblogs.madrimasd.org/microbiologia/); or even translated and published in English in the blog Small Things Considered (http://schaechter.asmblog.org/schaechter/) due to its interest. Different tracking tools were used to know the impact in the blogosphere. According to Statscounter there have been 36,841 page loads in the year 2008, and 20,005 from January to the end of March 2009. The daily average of unique visitors is 220. By Google Analytics, during that last month the number of visits has been 3.682 from 52 countries. Of those, 1373 (37%) are from Spain, 657 (18%) from Mexico and 591 (16%) from Colombia. As expected, the most numerous Spanish-origin visitors are from Alicante province (374 visits), where the Miguel Hernandez University is located, following by the towns of Bogota (259 visits), Madrid (212 visits) and Mexico city (133 visits). At first sight is seems that the goal of make education in microbiology attractive for students in this and other continents has been achieved.

But the things are no as good as it appears. As I noted before, the blog allow free and anonymous publication of comments to the different entries. The total number of comments has been 47, less than one comment by entry, so the objective of increase the participation of the students has not been achieve. In addition, during March 2009, a small survey between the students was done asking about their opinions. There was no obligation of answering the survey. The students were invited to leave their impressions and asked about ways of improving the blog by an anonymous comment. Only 4 of 70 students fill the questionnaire. At least their opinions were positive, but the scarce interest show by the survey indicates that there is a gap between the raw and optimistic data from the tracking tools and the desirable participation of the student in the transmission of knowledge from the teacher to them.
@InProceedings{SANCHEZ2009ASG,
author = {S{\'{a}}nchez, M.},
title = {AS GOOD AS IT GETS? A YEAR EXPERIENCE TALE ABOUT A BLOG DESIGNED FOR MICROBIOLOGY STUDENTS},
series = {1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN09 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-9801-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona ,Spain},
month = {6-8 July, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {2369-2373}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Sánchez
TI - AS GOOD AS IT GETS? A YEAR EXPERIENCE TALE ABOUT A BLOG DESIGNED FOR MICROBIOLOGY STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-612-9801-3/2340-1117
PY - 2009
Y1 - 6-8 July, 2009
CI - Barcelona ,Spain
JO - 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN09 Proceedings
SP - 2369
EP - 2373
ER -
M. Sánchez (2009) AS GOOD AS IT GETS? A YEAR EXPERIENCE TALE ABOUT A BLOG DESIGNED FOR MICROBIOLOGY STUDENTS, EDULEARN09 Proceedings, pp. 2369-2373.
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