The Blog and the Borg: a Collective Approach to E-Learning (2003)

This paper describes the use of tools and procedures to encourage reflective learning in a blended-learning postgraduate course. Its ethos encourages self-organized collaborative learning with little taught theoretical content. Students use a variety of Internet-based communication technologies and reflect on their experiences in an online learning diary or “blog,” The course is successful but its limited theoretical foundations, and technical and organizational problems caused by its blended delivery mode have led to student anxiety and have affected learning. The problems have been overcome through structural and methodological changes, sometimes at the expense of compromising the course’s ethos. A new solution is proposed combining the use of blogs with CoFIND, a kind of “group mind amplifier,” leading to a technologically enhanced variant of Kolb’s learning cycle that may serve as an informative model for other technology-assisted courses.


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I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

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