Social psychology (psychology)/Evaluation/Presentation

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Teaching social psychology via blogs and wikis

Unit: Social Psychology/G (7126/6666), 2007/8

Unit convener: James Neill

Watch the screencast (3:43 min)


Summary: Innovative teaching of social psychology using open access blogs and wikis in 2007-2008 received a high level of student satisfaction.

  1. During 2007/8, I was the unit convener for Social Psychology, a 3rd year undergraduate unit with ~70 to 80 students.
  2. I taught all the lectures and tutorials in order to better understand the unit, learning activities, and students. It was also hoped this direct teaching approach would stimulate student engagement and improve educational quality and consistency.
  3. In addition, I implemented student-oriented, experiential, online educational assessment tasks involving student blogs (2007) and wiki-based (2008) e-portfolios.

Teaching and learning theory[edit]

  1. Interactive, experiential, online educational technologies were used to help students explore, record, and shared their interactions with the unit's learning activities.
  2. In this way, students' learning (as opposed to teachers' teaching) was made more prominent. The role of the instructor was to train and facilitate students in learning how to utilise:
    1. blogs (2007)
    2. wikis (2008)
in order to publically record and demonstrate personal engagement with the unit's learning activities.

Essay blogs[edit]

  1. In 2007, social psychology students were required to present two short essays via blogs and to post blog comments about each others' essays.
    1. Essay 1 was selected by students from one of approx. five topics.
    2. Essay 2 involved selecting one of over 100 topics - students could also propose topic - thus, each student wrote on a unique topic.
  2. Students received essay feedback from the instructor as blog comments.
  3. 2007: List of all blogs. Exemplars:
Social psychology (psychology) List of all blogs 2007.png

Wiki e-portfolios[edit]

  1. In 2008, social psychology students were required to keep an e-portfolio (or learning journal) via a user page on Wikiversity, to record their observations and thoughts about the learning material and activities.
  2. Students were also encouraged to comment on the talk pages of others' e-portfolios and to encourage discussion on their own e-portfolio pages.
  3. Some students extended their wiki-editing into other parts of Wikiversity (optional).
  4. The instructor provided regular individual feedback and developed methods for overviewing and comparing e-portfolio contributions.
  5. 2008: List of all eportfolios. Exemplars:
    1. Jenny O
    2. User:MandaG
    3. Khayne
    4. Nikkihiggins
Social psychology (psychology) List of all eportfolios 2008.png

Student satisfaction[edit]

  1. Overall ratings and Average rating were above 6/7 (compared to a faculty average of 5.6 and UC average of 5.5 in 2008)
  2. USS (student satisfaction) results were consistently high in 2007 (blogs) and 2008 (wikis). There was a slight preference for the 2007 (blog) approach than the 2008 (wiki) approach, probably because students found blogs simpler to navigate and easier to edit (WYSIWIG).
Year Intellectually stimulating Well organised Develop skills & knowledge Assessment fair Feedback Overall Average
2007 6.7 6.6 6.4 5.8 6.1 6.3 6.2
2008 6.5 5.9 6.2 5.8 5.5 6.1 6.0
Social psychology (psychology) USS graph 2007-2008.png


  1. Two successful, interactive approaches to teaching and learning were demonstrated: student blogs and wiki-based e-portfolios.
  2. Other teaching staff may consider using such techniques, particularly with regard to addressing new PEAS, especially Step 18: Demonstrate the adoption of best practice use of educational technologies.
  3. Implementation of such open online learning approaches requires a significant level of enthusiasm, expertise and commitment on the part of teaching staff.