Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Using Blogs As Practice Writing About Original Neuroscience Papers

Extensive research has indicated that students’ attitudes and self-efficacy and also
writing quality improves when they are provided with opportunities for practice and
feedback. Here we tested the value of using a blog format to practice writing about
scientific research articles in small groups paired with time in class to discuss the articles
with their groups builds confidence in the ability to read and analyze original research
articles. We found that students in a junior-level Systems Neuroscience course had high
confidence in their ability to read and analyze papers. Surprisingly, however, this did not
manifest in increased quality of final, higher stakes, written reports on original research
articles. We conclude that blogs provide a useful format for students to discuss research
articles collaboratively while building confidence in their ability to analyze and discuss
original neuroscience articles.

Brasier, Daniel
Spix, Teresa
MCS, Biological Sciences