Wiki Wonderland A trip on the Magic [Wiki] Bus in ENL 201: Travel Literature
The course, the project, and the assessment Travel Literature explores contemporary nonfiction travel writing and its “global awareness” issues. “Visual learning” also occurs via maps, photographs, and other graphic representations of the texts’ locales and concerns. In Fall 2010, students completed a major course project on a Wiki. Project elements were assessed to learn how well students synthesized textual and visual learning by demonstrating such synthesis in their wikis.
Why Use a Wiki? I wanted to see if Wikis could be collaborative learning tools, sites within which students could practice and witness multiple technologies for learning.
The Class Wiki Students created individual pages from the Wiki Home Page. They could view each others’ works in progress and offer suggestions via the “Discussion” tab. They could also post draft materials for instructor review.
An Exemplary Wiki Portion of a great wiki by Amber Shimkus, illustrating her fluent association of text and images. About a third of the students were able to make wikis of this high level of achievement.
Assessing the Wiki Project for IBIS To assess this project for IBIS, I compared three wikis, Amber's at the high end of the scale of accomplishment, another in the middle range, and one at the lower end. Models available through web links and via examples posted on the course site [and wiki home page] made it possible for good students like Amber to create stunning wikis, fully integrating images and text. Less well-motivated students simply did less impressive or less complete work. Scores on the wiki project ran higher than usual, indicating that the incentives and examples offered by students’ ability to view and critique others' work in progress helped them shape better results. Almost one-third of the class [32.4%] earned some form of A on this assignment, an uncommonly high level of achievement.
Wiki Pros and Cons CONS Wikis won’t inspire students who do not want to work (with others). Some students are very inexperienced with online technologies, and wikis are not “intuitive.” PROS
Wikis discretely allow students to judge their own work by comparing it with the work of others.
Wikis take advantage of students’ creativity and their love of the mouse.
Wikis Work. On a wiki, a student can witness and create learning.