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In the fall 2013 section of HIST 3644, undergraduate students studied Soviet history in a networked learning environment that used blogging to construct and present the content of the course.

Each student maintained a blog that was syndicated to a main blog called Motherblog Central. Using guidelines provided by the instructor, students chose a topic that interested them, researched it, and posted their findings each week. The instructor and an undergraduate student assistant then curated the submissions into a "weekly edition" of the main blog, tagging the posts by topic and identifying exemplary posts to highlight on the slider at the top of the main blog.

Due to the format of this course, students were able to explore areas of interest ignited by their reading, relate the material to other topics, reflect on how the post illuminated a particular aspect of Soviet history, and engage with other students' research and findings by reading posts and commenting on their classmates’ posts. Publishing "class-sourced" content online provided students with an enduring digital research product. Working with web sites like 17 Moments in Soviet History and databases such as the Current Digest of the Soviet Press helped students develop expertise in identifying, using, and citing historical sources, refine skills in historical analysis, and understand the key developments and dynamics of Soviet history.

Soviet history for the networked age was made possible through a collaboration between University Libraries and TLOS: Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies.


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The Course Exhibition Initiative is part of an ongoing project to showcase the learning that happens at Virginia Tech as a shared experience. Exhibits will be featured in the second floor commons of Newman Library and will highlight innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to learning as well as provide an adaptive space for discovery and engagement. If you are interested in sharing your course projects here, please contact Scott Fralin.

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