Testing the Benefits of Blended Education: Using Social Technology to Foster Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing in Face-To-Face LIS Courses
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Blended education, which mixes elements of face-to-face and online educational delivery, can occur at the activity, course, program, or administrative level. This study examined the use of student blogs to test the benefits of course-level blended educational delivery for LIS students enrolled in a face-to-face course. Data collected from students' blogs were also used to assess whether Zach and Agosto's (2009) framework for maximizing student collaboration and knowledge sharing in online courses can be applied to face-to-face courses. The study found that blogs successfully supported collaboration and community building because they were well-suited to sharing course-related knowledge and because students encountered few technical barriers. These findings support Zach and Agosto's proposed criteria for selecting technologies to foster increased collaboration and knowledge sharing, e.g., low learning curves and easily facilitated student interaction. The results suggest that blended education can bring many of the educational benefits of online learning to face-to-face students.