Journalogue: Voicing student challenges in writing through a classroom blog


This study qualitatively analyzes the challenges presented by international undergraduate students in a freshman composition course at a large Midwestern university in the US. 15 students were divided into five groups, of three members each, with varying proficiency levels in writing. They were asked to submit reflections as journal/blog posts, on two assignments (each, a different genre). Each group was then asked to comment on their group members' reflections, while the teacher remained a silent observer, to ensure a stress-free environment. With a total of 30 blog posts, and 60 comments, the data was qualitatively coded to display major themes. It was found that the journal/blog posts described student challenges in writing, but also shared optimism for learner growth. Collaborative reflection and learning was accomplished through students' comments, which irrespective of language proficiency, showed identification with each other, and provided encouragement, and advice on how to deal with these challenges. Additionally, this online mode of expression allowed complete teacher access to understand linguistic challenges of students so as to m ake necessary alterations in the classroom. The paper concludes by presenting suggestions that can be pedagogically used to address the problems faced by students, and by delineating avenues for further research.



Document Type



Classroom blogging, ESL writing, Freshman composition, Identity, Reflective learning

Publication Date


Journal Title

Educational Technology and Society