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A Year In The Life Of: An Online Diary Of Keele Biochemistry Students’ Lives

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Abstract

Students often find the transition from School to University and between levels
difficult. During Year 1 in particular, retention levels can be impacted significantly if
students have problems integrating socially, as well as academically. Universities
are taking many and varied approaches to easing this transition, including a number
of peer-to-peer initiatives, because by sharing their experiences, students may
overcome some common issues. Web2.0 technologies provide tools to reach mass
audiences, or can be restricted to small target groups such as student cohorts. In
this pilot project, two 1st year and two 3rd year Biochemistry students have recorded
their year in a series of posts in an online wiki-diary/blog. An in-depth content
analysis of the blogs highlighted eight key categories and the frequency of comments
within each category was scored. The 3rd year students spent more time
commenting on workload, personal approach to study and career preparation, than
their 1st year counterparts. The readership of the online diaries was disappointingly
low, perhaps due to the relative inaccessibility of the pages, precluding the planned
reader-based evaluation of the project. In an informal interview, the bloggers
revealed their motivations for taking part and reflected on the perceived benefits.
Overall, they enjoyed the exercise and felt that that had developed several of Keele’s
graduate attributes.

Acceptance Date Jan 23, 2014
Publication Date Jan 23, 2014
Journal Journal of Academic Development and Education
Print ISSN 2051-3593
Pages 15 -28
Keywords higher education, biochemistry
Publisher URL https://jadekeele.wordpress.com/

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