"Before this class writing, to me, was a joke": An exploration of students' use of e-journaling in the classroom
Halm, Diane S.
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This study addressed the use of electronic journaling in developmental composition classes, and was built upon a smaller study conducted by myself earlier. This qualitative study investigated how students in freshman composition classes, including developmental learners, used journal writing. This teacher-researcher study employed semi-structured interviews, student artifacts, and written reflections of 29 students. They journaled, electronically, throughout the semester, reflecting on both their writing and themselves as writers. Research questions included: 1.) How do students write about themselves as writers and the writing process? 2.) How does journaling affect their willingness to write and their self-concept as writers? 3.) Does journaling aid in changing student attitudes about the act of and purpose for writing? Analysis showed four distinct themes: the relationship between e-journaling and the writing process, along with the sub-theme of how prior learning experiences impacted self-efficacy; the relationship between e- journaling and motivation and persistence; the impact of voice and choice on student writing, in addition to the sub-theme of feedback and support; and lastly, the relationship between e- journaling and students’ attitudes about writing. E-journaling gave students an opportunity to envision composition in a different way than academic writing. They became engaged in thinking about their writing and their processes. Reflection offered them opportunity to find stimulation and satisfaction from newfound knowledge and increased skill. Keywords: Student engagement; motivation, self-efficacy, persistence, composition, journaling, developmental learners, expressivism, involvement theory, constructivism, flow theory, metacognition, avoidance; active leaning, peer feedback, self-determination theory.