Experiential Learning, Blogging, and Teaching Sociology: An Integrative Model

By Sophia Lyn Nathenson.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the use of digital communication tools such as blogging to enhance student understanding of social theory. The author currently teaches a pilot social problems course specific to the local community, in which students engage with and observe their local community and then reflect on their experiences through the use of blogging. Combining experiential learning with the use of blogging allows students to incorporate social theories learned in the classroom in their own real life experiences, and share their thoughts with other students online. Blogging reconciles some difficulties in teaching about social theory and social problems which can include student reluctancy to participate in conversations on controversial issues, anxiety about articulating ideas on the spot, and inability to connect with abstract social theory. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning objectives, an integrative model is proposed offering ideas on incorporating technology to meet these objectives. Technology has significantly changed the way knowledge is produced and the way students learn; an integrative teaching model responds to these changes.

Keywords: Blogging, Social Theory, Experiential Learning, Community, Sociology, Collaboration, Reflection, Teaching, Higher Education, Technology

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.63-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 492.965KB).

Sophia Lyn Nathenson

Graduate Instructor of Sociology, Sociology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Sophia Lyn Nathenson is a doctoral candidate in the department of sociology at the University of Utah. She has taught various courses on juvenile delinquency, social problems, and demography. She currently teaches a social problems class specific to the local area that she designed herself. The course takes an “experiential learning” approach and incorporates the use of digital communications media to facilitate student interaction and collaboration both in and outside the classroom. Sophia is a medial sociologist and her research focuses on health philosophy, alternative medicines, spirituality and health care. Her future interests include further research on the interaction of social institutions and well-being, as well as actively participating in the reshaping of higher education and implementing the use of digital technologies as tools for cultural understanding, community engagement, and self awareness. She holds a masters degree in sociology from the University of Utah as well as degrees in psychology and Spanish from the University of Tulsa.