Problem Statement: The date and time feature of blogs make it possible to observe how students approach the task of participating in a course blog differently in terms of frequency and promptness of contribution. However, there have been no studies relating this difference in behavior to educationally crucial variables such as goal orientation and observable outcomes such as academic achievement.
Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is twofold: (a) to determine the profiles of a group of prospective EFL teachers in terms of achievement goal orientation and English Literature course blog use behavior; and (b) to explore whether the participants’ academic achievement in English Literature vary as a function of their profiles.
Method: The study was conducted with a convenience sample of 65 Turkish prospective EFL teachers who posted comments on the weekly posts left by the instructor/researcher on the course blog as part of the English Literature I course. Content analysis of the course blog was used to determine the frequency and promptness of each participant’s contribution by counting the number of contributions for each student and assigning them a code according to the period of time elapsing between the researcher’s original post and the contribution. The goal orientations of the participants were identified by means of a questionnaire, the validity and internal reliability of which was analyzed by confirmatory factor analysis and internal consistency coefficiency respectively. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to classify the participants in terms of goal orientation and course blog use; subsequently, one way ANOVA determined any significant differences between the academic achievements in English Literature of the clusters. Statistical analyses were run using STATISTICA 7 and SPSS 13.0.
Findings and Results: Hierarchical cluster analysis revealed 3 distinctly different cluster patterns which displayed multiple goal orientations and patterns of blog use behavior. Although significance was not reached, the mean academic achievement of the clusters differed in favor of the one showing high performance orientation and highly frequent and prompt blog contribution, with the low goal orientation and blog contribution cluster achieving the lowest mean score.
Conclusions and Recommendations: The results of the study supported previous research advocating the idea that individuals can endorse more than one goal orientation simultaneously; and that in university settings, performance goals are associated with adaptive learning behavior, frequent and prompt course blog use in the current context, and higher academic achievement. Further studies are recommended with larger samples in wider settings, and to relate qualitative aspects of blog contribution to goal orientation and academic achievement.
Keywords: Prospective EFL teachers, English literature, achievement goals, course blog use, academic achievement