Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 2066–2070 | Cite as

The Reflective Writing Class Blog: Using Technology to Promote Reflection and Professional Development

  • Katherine Chretien
  • Ellen Goldman
  • Charles Faselis
Innovations in Education



The hidden (informal) curriculum is blamed for its negative effects on students’ humanism and professional development. To combat this, educational initiatives employing mentored reflective practice, faculty role-modeling, and feedback have been advocated.


Promote reflection on professional development using collaborative, web-based technology.


Four-week basic medicine clerkship rotation at an academic institution over a one-year period.


Students were asked to contribute two reflective postings to a class web log (blog) during their rotation. They were able to read each other’s postings and leave feedback in a comment section. An instructor provided feedback on entries, aimed to stimulate further reflection. Students could choose anonymous names if desired.


Ninety-one students wrote 177 posts. One-third of students left feedback comments. The majority of students enjoyed the activity and found the instructor’s feedback helpful. Assessment of the posts revealed reflections on experience, heavily concerned with behavior and affect. A minority were not reflective. In some cases, the instructor’s feedback stimulated additional reflection. Certain posts provided insight to the hidden curriculum.


We have discovered that blogs can promote reflection, uncover elements of the hidden curriculum, and provide opportunities to promote professional development.

Key Words

clinical clerkship undergraduate medical education humanism reflective writing professionalism 



We are indebted to the 91 student bloggers.

This research was not funded.

Conflict of Interest

None disclosed.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Chretien
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ellen Goldman
    • 2
  • Charles Faselis
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Washington DC VA Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human DevelopmentWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Internal MedicineGeorge Washington University School of MedicineWashingtonUSA

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