Daily Archives: June 17, 2013

Week 6 – Wikis one voice many uses

Using Web 2.0 technologies, knowledge can be shared publicly or privately by way of blogs and wikis for consumption and interaction with published content. Class blogs allow for many authors to share their respective views on the prescribed topics while wikis afford multiple authors and one voice on a main topic. Depending on how it is organized for users, a wiki  might end up looking like a blog with many voices, instead of one. Entries can be archived for both blogs and wikis but the wiki platform is designed for collaborative writing, not so the blog. In using these platforms, organization of content is important in creating the intended learning environment.

A Wiki is different from a blog in that it is set up to contain different pages.  Schweder & Wissick,(2009) suggested many ways a wiki can be used to improve instruction, such as classroom wikis or subject wikis. For support groups in education where the administrative system is left to the respective departments to create, wikis can be used to create knowledge management systems (KMS). In our centre for e-learning (CeL) we have several teams. Each team is required to create  a KMS (one voice for their team) into the main KMS for CeL. When I first joined CeL, the KMS organization was poor, meaning users experienced frustration in locating information. But recently one of the assistant head took time to organize the massive body of information using a free version of mind mapping tool (http://www.mindomo.com) in the process of designing the new KMS on Google Sites. This KMS became a model sample which could be showcased during Google Apps training. It was an eye opening experience for many, including some department heads, who attended Learning Week for Non Academic Staff as they could see the potential yield in productivity. Several academic staff joined as they also needed to learn the how to. CeL is planning more Google Edu Apps workshops to address this need for academic staff.

Like Valerie Burton (wiki-centric-learning) we also use the Wiki to serve as an online filing cabinet for handouts in our training. See bitly.com/NonAcadLearningWeek

One of my work assignment is to create pedagogical tips for Blackboard. I am now thinking of using a wiki to design it with key concepts and short videos from academic staff sharing. Putting this information online will reach a bigger audience.

How are blogs and wikis different in how they shape our learning in this class?

Week 6: Wikis and Learning

Prior to checking out the Wikis provided in this week’s lesson, I had this idea that Wikis were basically blogs. As I further explored these sites, I realized that Wikis are used not only to archive entries, but more importantly to provide a means of collaborating. Wikis allow students to electronically collect information in order to complete jigsaw projects together in one place. Teachers and curriculum specialists are able to collect information, files, resources, and thoughts about lesson plans. Teachers can also connect with one another from across the world and share experiences or provide support and encouragement.

Monitoring smaller classroom Wikis begins with setting expectations and providing students with exemplary examples prior to ever even allowing students to contribute. Many larger public Wikis, such as Wikipedia, require that credentials are posted in addition to your contribution. Although not everyone who contributes is a professional in every area, each entry can easily be traced back to the author and may reveal some insight as to what they contributed to the Wiki.

As many of you all have already discussed, GoogleDocs is a new(ish) web-based storage and collaboration site. GoogleDocs allows multiple people to access a document at a single time and contribute. I am familiar and in love with GoogleDocs as I have used it for online courses and Teach For America has used it for scheduling and as a checklist for a list of students to monitoring progress. During our lengthy application process and since being accepted into the program, we have used documents on GoogleDocs on which everyone tracks there progress in databases and marks their schedules in order to schedule interviews and such. It is user-friendly, free, and allows collaboration in a similar capacity to Wikis.