P. Tossavainen

Laurea University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
The academic writing traditions are challenging to many students. Due to the linguistic barriers novel ideas, created knowledge, information, and study outcomes may remain unpublished, unnoticed, or misconceived. Therefore, this paper takes a look whether a blog could provide a channel for modernized scholarly communication. Blogs are widely used in business organizations and in sharing professional expertise. We suggest that engaging into active learning experience could encompass also blog. We argue that students, who learn to use blog during their studentship, will not only build an expertise on writing the blog but also build an expertise portfolio visible to other business practioners. Blog is defined simply as a website created by and managed by the blogging individual for the purpose of generating, sharing, and disseminating content. The characteristics of public sharing, use of individual or collective basis, and the support, reflection, and communication especially related to “thinking by writing” make blogs a useful tool for educational purposes and especially useful for future managers.

The purpose of the paper is to describe how a blog can be utilized in an international Master’s Degree Program. The digital space called MP SID Blog was established in 2012 by the Head of the Degree Program. The target audience of the blog is the world-wide business community interested in service innovation and design. By January 14, 2014 there were 124 published blog posts, 18 categories, and 410 tags. The number of followers was 70, 21 comments, and 470 get posts via Facebook. The largest groups of viewers come from USA, Europe, India, Brazil and the Republic of Korea.

This paper is the first attempt to conceptualize a wider perspective of blog use in management education. The novelty of this paper is to include both educational perspectives in the framework namely the teaching and the learning perspectives. The purpose of the paper is to advance the blog use in higher education context. The secondary purpose of the paper is to advance the academic practices related to the blog use. Our study reveals that openly visible blog during the education program creates twofold results: Firstly, there is the managerial competence development as Master’s degree students create their professional visibility of their own expertise during the studies. Thus they develop a “professional voice” during education. Secondly, the learning purpose is fulfilled. Writing for the blog develops not only scholarly communication skills needed in future business and also visualization skills. Furthermore, blogging is a good way to establish oneself as an expert and promote your expertise for a large international audience. Thus, students build their online digital portfolio of the learning outcomes during their studies, which is useful in career development.

We propose that a wider use of blogs and blogging would supplement other learning and teaching objectives. Further, we suggest that the same blog should be used throughout the curriculum and not by single course only. We also would extend the use of blogs form mere course assignment platform to cover wider range of activities.