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Developing reflective practitioners online: The business of blogs in work integrated learning

By Amanda T. Beatson and Ingrid K. Larkin

Abstract

Reflective practice is widely considered across discussions around educational psychology, professional identity, employability of graduates, and generic or graduate capabilities. Critical reflection is essential for providing a bridge between the university and the workplace, and for ultimately preparing work ready graduates (Patrick et al, 2008). Work integrated learning, particularly through internships and work placements for students, is viewed as a valuable approach for students developing skills in reflective practice.\ud Reflective journals are one of the tools often used to encourage and develop student reflection. Shifting the reflective journal to an online interface as a reflective blog presents opportunities for more meaningful, frequent and richer interaction between the key players in a work integrated learning experience.\ud This paper examines the adoption, implementation and refinement of the use of reflective blogs in a work integrated learning unit for business students majoring in advertising, marketing and public relations disciplines. The reflective blog is discussed as a learning and assessment tool, including the approaches taken to integrate and scaffold the blog as part of the work integrated learning experience.\ud Graduate capabilities were used as cornerstones for students to frame students’ thinking, experiences and reflection. These capabilities emphasise the value of coherent theoretical and practical knowledge, coupled with critical, creative and analytical thinking, problem solving skills, self reliance and resilience. Underlying these graduate capabilities is a focus on\ud assessment for learning matched with assessment of learning. Using specific triggers and prompts as part of the reflective process, and incorporating ongoing feedback from academic supervisors, students moved from descriptive levels of reflection, to more meaningful and critical reflection.\ud Students’ blogs are analysed to identify key themes, challenges and achievements in the work integrated learning experience. Suggestions for further development and improvement, together with a model of best practice, are proposed

Topics: 130203 Economics Business and Management Curriculum and Pedagogy, work integrated learning, reflective practice and writing, HERN
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:39405

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