Wikis in the Classroom: Three Ways to Increase Student Collaboration

I’ve long said that professors who want to explore teaching with technology should begin with a social media tool rather than a Learning Management System. Web 2.0 tools are simple to use, invite student collaboration, and are usually less administratively clunky and complex than an LMS.

One of the easiest and most powerful tools is the regular old wiki. Wikis are simply web pages that can be edited by their users. Instead of only carrying content from the administrator, they harness the power of crowd sourcing to create a powerful communal resource.

I use a wiki as the electronic hub of my face-to-face courses. The uses are varied:

Course Information
All course information —syllabus, course schedule, assignments, handouts, etc. —is posted on the wiki. This means that students can check in to get information at any time without the multiple login steps of an LMS. I also find it much easier to update content on the wiki than the LMS. Plus, students considering taking the course can check out the syllabus before registering. It is beyond me why most colleges still only provide a name and short generic description of their courses to guide students’ decisions. Why not at least require instructors to put their syllabi into an online database?

Resource Repository
I like saving current articles that relate to course content. For instance, I am constantly running across advances in genetics that fit perfectly into my medical ethics course. I put links to these articles into my wiki. Importantly, I encourage students to do the same so that they feel a part of a knowledge community that is exploring the topics together.

One interesting section of the wiki is called “Just for Fun.” This is a place for students to load links to funny stories or videos related to course content. You would be surprised how much is out there.

Student Projects
One of the biggest mistakes we make in education is keeping the good work our students do hidden from the public. While professors are supposed to make public their research to advance understanding in their field, student work is only seen by the instructor and the student. Why not make the best work public? Not only does this encourage students to do better work, but also makes that work a resource for future students. Other students can benefit from the work, and it can serve as a model of what the instructor wants from students.

by John Orlando, PhD in Teaching with Technology.

Read more @ http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-with-technology-articles/wikis-in-the-classroom-three-ways-to-increase-student-collaboration/

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