25 Feb 2009

Blogs as a measure of quality

An interesting talk I attended treated the use of blogs as an instrument of determining the quality of a public service. This is particularly significant where quality assessment is habitually performed as part of a learning process.

As a public agency, we are not only interested in what the assessment forms tell us. Most of the information is quantitative and does tell us something about the general level of our training. We do not, however, know what we might do more than we do. For this purpose, qualitative analysis may be a good alternative. And to do this with limited resources, blog analysis could be a good tool.

In blog analysis, (semi-)automatic tools are used to check blogs about educational activities. We can determine what exactly they can contribute to continuous improvement of the course quality.

Ideally this could be an automatic process. Among the thousands of blog entries about the Syntra Network, many are probably not useful for this purpose. But equally likely, many are. We can learn from the many blog and comment entries about school teachers to improve our quality, not on the individual level (eg. of the teacher) but on the course level. In general, any shortcomings of teachers are pretty quickly signaled to co-ordinators and remedied.

For the government level, course quality could be better monitored with the blog analysis method to enhance the existing quality monitoring systems. It is a suggestion for any education provider to take to heart.