EDUCAUSE IT: Using Wikis to Enhance Collaboration


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Twitter: #MARC11_SESS48

This special "Experience IT" session is designed to offer a hands-on, highly interactive introduction to an emerging tool and explore its potential impact for professional development and the classroom. Please bring a laptop to the session to ensure you can engage with the presenter. Seating will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Wikis allow multiple users to edit the same web page while tracking individual contributions. Their inherent simplicity gives users direct access to their content, which is crucial in group editing or other collaborative activities. But how can you use wikis to effectively provide collaborative opportunities in the classroom and elsewhere on campus? How do wikis compare with other collaboration applications? This session will take a look at the use of wikis in online courses and discuss other effective uses.

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EDUCAUSE IT: Using Wikis to Enhance Collaboration

  1. 1. Experience IT: Using Wikis to Enhance Collaboration Presented by Dr. Karen Swenson Amber D. Evans M. Aaron Bond January 14, 2011 9:30 – 10:15 AM
  2. 2. Topics Designing the Course Student Survey Data What are Wikis? VT SciFi Wiki Using Wikis – Your turn! Questions & Answers
  3. 3. Designing the Course Dr. Karen Swenson
  4. 4. Designing the Course Context: Face-to-Face / Hybrid / Online Audience, Content, and Context Who are you instructing? What are you teaching? Where & How are students learning?
  5. 5. Designing the Course Paradigms and Pedagogy Behavorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism? Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education (Chickering & Gamson, 1987) Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge - Seven Principles for Cultivating Communities of Practice (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002)
  6. 6. English 1654: Introduction to Science Fiction and Fantasy Online 80 Students 15 weeks
  7. 7. English 1654: Introduction to Science Fiction and Fantasy Students think about important issues presented through works of speculative fiction – definitions of good and evil, self and alien, science and nature, human and machine, human and monster, exploitation and collaboration. Students consider: definitions of human experience and potential, Demonstrate knowledge through weekly quizzes. Students share ideas in a discussion forum & a speculative fiction wiki.
  8. 8. Learning Objectives and Course Goals (Platonic) Through collaborative work, we will reconsider traditional concepts of "author" and of "self," suggest collaborative means of living with others, learn to work together to create a better world, encourage a sense of community, encourage an awareness of the contributions of others, become more accustomed to considering ourselves within a context.
  9. 9. Student Survey Data Amber D. Evans
  10. 10. Demographics
  11. 11. Demographics
  12. 12. Prior to this course how often did you contribute content to Wikis (Wikipedia, course wiki, etc.) for school, work, or recreation?
  13. 13. What is your opinion about the following statement: I get more actively involved in courses that use information technology?
  14. 14. What is your opinion about the following statement: The use of IT in my courses improves my learning.
  15. 15. What is your opinion about the following statement: IT makes doing my course activities more convenient?
  16. 16. Which of the following best describes you?
  17. 17. I learn best through: (choose all that apply)
  18. 18. I like to learn through contributing to websites, blogs, wikis, etc.
  19. 19. What are Wikis? Amber D. Evans
  20. 20. What are Wikis? It is a powerful yet flexible collaborative communication tool for developing content-specific Web sites. A wiki is a Web page that can be viewed and modified by anybody with a Web browser and access to the Internet. Popular Wikis include Wikipedia , Wikibooks , Wikihow Many “flavors” of wikis available: Which Wiki is Right for You? (A matrix)
  21. 21. How does it Work? View & Edit changes while retaining the previous copy. Wikis use computer scripting (programming) text files Web browser Internet connection Edit a page Sends a request to the server for the wiki page text. Save a page Sends the revised text to the server and saves “an old copy” as a previous revision.
  22. 22. Why are Wikis Significant? A content-focused approach makes it easy to collaborate and then export it to different formats. Access the current document anytime online. Add new pages or change existing pages. No HTML or coding is required. Compare previous versions. Identify who contributed content. Export the wiki page to Microsoft Word or PDF.
  23. 23. When to use Wikis Features: Easy online editing by users. Revision history. Notification of changes. Export options (MS Word, HTML, PDF, etc.) Uses: To capture and record process and procedures. Meeting minutes that anyone can add to. Brainstorming
  24. 24. How can Wikis be Used in Teaching and Learning? Wikis are reflexive & adaptive, growing with use. Easiest and most effective collaboration tool. Versioning shows Evolution of thought & contents Authorship & ownership Can be used to Create ePortfolios, Collaborate on (research) projects, Edit articles or textbooks, Recording process and procedures, Do anything you can imagine!
  25. 25. Some Challenges of Wikis Wikis open windows to collaboration, but sometimes flies get in. Wikis may require monitoring. May need to gain authorization to edit a wiki. Learning curve (new toolbars, new tools) Lack of some features (i.e., Word Count) Content-focused not cosmetic. Hierarchy doesn’t exist (like a concept map) Collective group bias. Remembering to use it!
  26. 26. The SciFi Wiki Dr. Karen Swenson “ Student writing has meaning, power, and significance in this course. Students are shaping both their own words and the words of others in order to create a web of interconnected writings.”
  27. 27. “ Wiki Aliveness” Design for evolution. Open a dialogue between inside and outside perspectives. Invite different levels of participation. Develop both public and private community spaces. Focus on value. Combine familiarity and excitement. Create a rhythm for the community. Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder
  28. 28. A Wiki will allow us to: interact with each other in a useful and interesting way, share our knowledge and expertise with others, experience a new form of writing and a new definition of “authorship” made possible by technology, participate in a collaborative enterprise. learn from each other, and have fun together!
  29. 29. Wiki Pages – Creating Infrastructure
  30. 30. Wiki Pages – Hypertext Essays, Images, Words
  31. 31. Wiki Pages – History of Collaboration
  32. 32. Wiki Development The success of this course wiki led to the creation of a community wiki – the Virginia Tech Speculative Fiction wiki, around which is growing a community of practice beyond the boundaries of the semester. “ Play Well and Prosper”
  33. 33. Join VTSF Worlds - a Speculative Fiction Community! Username: Your email address Check your email for the password Look in junk/spam folder Raise hand for assistance.
  34. 34. Closing Comments from Students “ Class was really great. Professor Swenson made Science Fiction fun and relevant for me and turned me into a reader.” “ Great class, enjoyable and fun thanks for a great year!” “ Professor Swenson is the best!” “ Class structure was awesome.  Great mix of tests, forums, wikis, and final project. Class was one of the most fun I've taken … Swenson is a great teacher though, and her assistant Yakima was VERY helpful. This course covered more material than any class I've ever taken, but ran more smoothly than most. Overall a positive experience.”
  35. 35. Thank You Collaborative work allows us to: reconsider traditional concepts of "author" and of "self,” suggest collaborative means of living with others, learn to work together to create a better world, encourage a sense of community, encourage an awareness of the contributions of others, become more accustomed to considering ourselves within a context. Karen Swenson [email_address] Associate Professor of English Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA 24061 Amber D. Evans [email_address] IDT Ph. D. Candidate Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA 24061 M. Aaron Bond [email_address] Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA 24061