I blog... by alamodestuff, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by alamodestuff

Blogging from Stuttgart

This page is an overview for students participating in the Blogging from Stuttgart Project, funded by a UWA ISL grant and overseen by Chantal Bourgault Du Coudray, Kati Tonkin and Mark Pegrum in 2012.

--What's this all about?-- This blogging project will help deepen your reflections on your cultural and intercultural experiences, and give you a chance to discuss those experiences with your classmates, during your upcoming exchange in Stuttgart.

--Why a blog?-- A blog is essentially an online diary, where entries appear in reverse chronological order. Because it's online, you can access it anytime, anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection.

The first purpose of your blog is to enhance your reflections on your cultural and intercultural learning. You can edit and re-edit entries as you reflect further on your experiences. You can also support your text with multimedia materials, which are often helpful in conveying cultural impressions - sometimes a picture or video really can be worth a thousand words!

The second purpose is to foster interactions with classmates, allowing you to compare your observations and share your insights. This should lead to a richer, deeper understanding of the cultural phenomena you encounter - and will hopefully make you feel less alone during your time away!

--How do I set up my blog?-- You'll be asked to set up your blog during a guided workshop prior to your departure. You'll be invited to start by reading the summary about blogging on the blogs page of the E-language wiki. You can choose to use any free blogging service, such as Blogger, Edublogs or WordPress.com. In recent years, the most popular blogging platform for students has been Blogger (with web addresses that end in .blogspot.com), but you may feel free to use one of the others listed here if you prefer. It is also possible to use services which are not listed here, but please speak to Mark Pegrum about this before setting up your blog.

For examples of what blogs can look like, see Mark Pegrum's E-language blog (Edublogs) or the many blogs created by Education students (using a variety of blogging services, as indicated in the web addresses).

If you can't attend this workshop, please get in touch with Kati Tonkin. If you have questions about the workshop itself or the material covered - either before or after the event - please get in touch with Mark Pegrum directly.

--Where is my blog? Where are my classmates' blogs?-- Right here! Once you have set up your blog, we'll list its address in the box below. You'll also be able to find your classmates' blogs in this box. Please remember your username and password, though - we won't be able to help you if you lose them!

Student blogroll


--What do I write on my blog?-- You should write a minimum of six blog posts, one per week for the six weeks of your stay in Germany, and respond to at least three of your classmates' blogs each week. To make sure everyone has time to read and respond to each other's blogs, please make your initial post by Wednesday midnight, and your three comments on classmates' blogs by Saturday midnight each week.

Your own blog posts should be at least 300 words in length. There is no set length for your comments on your classmates' blogs, but you should engage with their content by adding your own observations, making suggestions, and/or asking questions. Remember that the more you put into this exercise, the more you will get out of it!

You can write in English or German or both, but your objective should be to write more German by the end of your six-week stay.

You are encouraged to invite your German peers or hosts to comment as well.

Finally, please consider your audience - remember that your blog will be publicly viewable, so you should write in a respectful manner. Be especially careful not to identify individuals or institutions in any critical comments you might make. When responding to classmates' blogs, you should also write considerately.

--How can I enhance my blog?-- You are strongly invited to incorporate multimedia materials (such as images, audio files and/or videos) which reflect your cultural experiences and complement your textual commentary.

--What are the topics for my blog?--

Week 1: The topic for your first post is as follows:
  • What are my learning expectations? (What do I hope to learn about my host nation? About myself? About intercultural communication?)

Weeks 2-5: The topics for the middle four posts are as follows:
  • A new culture: First impressions (What is familiar? What is strange?)
  • A dialogue that challenged my perceptions of my host nation
  • A dialogue that made me reconsider my assumptions about my (Australian or other) identity
  • Some observations about social issues or challenges that face my host nation
  • A miscommunication: What went wrong?
  • Rethinking a cultural stereotype

Please choose one of these topics for each of the middle four posts. Note that you should only choose a topic once, but you can always return to, and add further material or comments to, past weeks' blog posts.

Week 6: The topic for your last post is as follows:
  • To what extent were my learning expectations met? What did I learn that I did not expect to learn?

--What are the interviews for?-- To further enhance your cultural and intercultural learning, and in order to measure the success of this project, you will be invited to participate in surveys and interviews about the blogging process. We welcome your feedback.

Credits: The image above right is available under a Creative Commons licence from alamodestuff's Photostream on Flickr; the original can be found here. It has been credited on the current page using ImageCodr software.

Contact: Please feel free to explore the rest of this E-language resource wiki. You are welcome to contact me with comments, suggestions or questions.