University of Canberra/RCC2010/Wikis for applied learning

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  • Tassie polytechnic this year is trialling wikis for rapid learning materials and collaboration with students, teachers
  • number of different learning approaches that teachers have developed to suit their context
  • different levels of takeup from students
  • this session will look at potential is to support the learning process thru wikis. our experiences so far show that there's huge potential. Wikis are open, shared, collaborative - tick all the philosophical boxes.

URL for project in 2010:

How did you get started:

  • start small
  • use real problems/solutions - where wikis provide the best solution
  • recognise that there are teachers that are doing this off their own bat
  • participants were introduced to a number of platforms including wikispaces. ppl liked the idea of community etc but made their choices on the basis of usability/ease of use.


I wasn't able to make it to RCC, but Leigh suggested I post here:

  • Our program: Appropedia has a number of university classes using the wiki as a platform for service learning. Programs include written research reports, life cycle analysis, writing up field projects, and translating pages. See Appropedia:Project:Service learning and Appropedia:Portal:Service learning.
  • So far: This has received very good feedback from instructors and students. It's a boost to motivation, it showcases the class's work, and contributes to a global body of knowledge to solutions in sustainability and development. Peer review is conducted by students, ultimate review by instructor. New articles can be solely edited by students (an "inprogress" tag asks other editors to wait) or part of the open edit wiki.
  • The future:
    • We have been moving slowly on outreach due to lack of funding, but we intend to expand the program and are ready to do so. We wish to find new partners.
    • Site features to give students an even better experience.
    • New ways to filter and mark content by value and quality (e.g. FlaggedRevs)
  • What Appropedia offers:
    • We've had experience with running various kinds of wiki service learning programs, starting with students who've never used wikis. The founder of Appropedia is an engineering instructor at Humboldt State University in California, and a major contributor has been a physics professor at Queens University, Ontario.
    • Similar to a hosted solution (technical load taken by us, framework already provided and under constant development in response to classes' needs.
    • Records are available as a site dump, or export of all relevant pages with revision history.
    • Teaches the students wiki literacy, and lets them see how their work is used by others (pageview counter, potentially comments and messages from other users).
    • Teaches collaboration - pages are rarely by one person.
    • Whether or not you're working directly with us, the results of these programs might help you overcome resistance to change. You can point to these programs and say "look, it works!"

Would love to connect with people interested in this kind of learning and sharing, from around the globe. We've love to directly work with new classes but are also happy if our experience and model is a benefit to other programs. --Chriswaterguy 09:45, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Conversation summary:

  • (Marg)Big issue re transition between different products used in orgs
  • (leigh) Email example - was originally hosted by org which set up the workforce into a set of common practices. Unis are now increasingly working in the cloud. Won't it be the same with wikis, LMS etc?
  • (kirsty) Technical load is one consideration. Comments from teachers re preferences relates to control and ease of use. Hosted solution (eg wikispaces) is not the solution. But we don't have enough info to make the decision yet.
  • Students are doing reflections on work placements for trial groups. Thru wikispaces it makes sense for students to have their own pages. External solution for broader purpose would require consideration of assessment, comments, contributions.
  • legal issue: licensing for audit (assessment) is an issue - need to keep records for 7 years.
  • james runs his courses on wikiversity - doesn't want his teaching materials stuck in repository that he or students can't access after course has finished - seems logically sensible to have things of value in a place that allows people to make reuse of it.
  • Mark Drecksler has contributed comment via twitter - - re wiki moodle school group yr 9 and 10 - set up monopoly board using simple table - colour fields for students - instructions on how to set up moodle wiki - is using it so that students can explore house prices.
  • (Marina) Currently using wiki for management - weekly meetings - working thru governance strudture of moodle at the moment - government side of things - wikis are a great way of putting ppl's notes together and working on an agenda etc.
  • (Peter Shanks)Teaching a programming course - different types of areas - students wrote scenarios on wikis - used for assessment. Material is already there in wikiversity - got students to follow up with exercises for assessment.
  • ((Marina) Teaching project mgt - post grad course - they divided students in groups for whole semester - each group works through all processes being taught, add stuff to wiki, end of course half day presentation on how they worked through, strategies they used and how this was incorporated using the wiki.
  • (Leigh) I'm most motivated by schools using wikipedia - choose a featured article - peer review etc - takes them out of the educational context and in the real world, exposing them to the world, constructed learning etc.
  • (Andrew) this has been the focus of alot of our outreach - most prominent one - wikimedia foundation has a grant to have college students work on public policy articles - will be interesting to see results
  • ? for andrew re assessment/uni entries for wikipedia "wikitrust" phd student project: system in which colour coded articles based on who has contributed - "blame map" - interesting for figuring out how many students have been written by students
  • British columbia - students adopted a page.
  • James is showing a course where assessment task was to keep e-portfolio - a table of stats showing who has contributed and how much - teacher can go to any of their pages in wikiversity and see their reflections. This provides a place that they've cultivated/built that allows for the teacher to assess the meaning. Other students read each others reflections thus learning from each other. James had confidence that students developed digital literacies and engagement of learners - James will be using this approach again.
  • This semester James will ask them to collaborate on an online textbook - difficult ot find these online - collaborating on a table of contents then each student picks a topic and authors the topic in a sub page.
  • Researches can use wiki user space to publish research (allows mutiple branching and additional pages)
  • If you start a stub it's interesting to visit again months later to see how it's grown.
  • ? re election - is there a wikipedia page yet?
  • SMH has a quiz that allows you to work out which way to vote based on a series of education
  • Learning/education issue - lexicon? or is there a difference between learning and education?
  • has anyone done any surveys on what sources (wikis in particular) that students use?
  • that's the wrong question - students don't tend to care where the information comes from - centralising the flow isn't the issue - we might be looking at it
  • wikipedia - is it a reference? a learning environment?
  • quote from james "wikis are about hitting that edit button" - what is it about these activities; what types of learning; content generation; digital literacy; ability to pull in sources of information and reframe them in a formal setting; assessment - what is it that learners are doing, perhaps with wiki tools, that's actually the learning.
  • we've been talking too much about wikis as a source. same thing with journal articles. it being a source doesn't make it right - as a reader i make my mind up, learn, within myself. what's powerful about wikis is that they engage the learner in the CREATION and manipulation of knowledge - that's the higher order skill that is really good about wikis.
  • how do we encourage the manipulation/creation of this knowledge? are we building talk pages? history pages?
  • one teacher i know does group work - students form posses and go into the community - wiki is used to look at how they've created their work plan - history page allows assessor to see how this has been built. The plan ripples and changes and this is quite telling. Not just who has done what, but also teamwork.
  • Nice script for Firefox - using Greasemonkey - allows you to get a time lapse view of the evolution of the wiki. Similar to google wave slider.
  • the process, as educators, is what interests me. output is great etc but i'm more interested in how they did that. using the wiki as reflective tool is great, but if i've got 400 students, i'd like a tool that allows the manasgement of that info to be easier.
  • there are lots of things you can do - look at contributions (ie did they do it the night before the assessment was due..), have they posted on other pages (ie did they read other people's work) - wikipedia wasn't built for education but provides a good platform for creating these learning strategies. Getting extensions to embed media is frustrating tho and wikipedia foundation needs to look at that. Extensions would allow for a much better learning environment.
  • when wikiversity was first built it was never meant to be a hosting environment for ppl to run their courses. what happens on wikiversity impacts on wikipedia - enabling extensions with performance or security issues might have consequences for the more prominent sites. It also takes alot of time and money to do this - wikimedia has to prioritise resources on the basis of impact.
  • there's something emergent in this group - if we were mapping the learning here there's a social element that's about throwing things in - you can go anywhere in the internet for expert input - what's interesting here is you could map those territories out then it would be easier to see which tools would do that. how much do we let learners participate in the design of the curriculum *if we could map how ppl learn it's much easier to then map the tools.
  • ed design team at CIT - work has changed significantly in last 2 years - space in which that is occuring is also changing - fundamental questions are coming back to "what is this learning design thing"
  • Classroom teaching: 1% don't teach in the classroom - go out on excursions or whatever; most teachers use classroom to conduct their teaching. There's a correlation between the internet and LMS etc.
  • Students are in the workplace or soon will be - i want the content of their learning to be available to them following their study *wiki means quick - edit and save as a principle allows collaboration - essence of wiki - giving students the confidence to create content, edit and see it evolve.
  • access is a real issue.
  • most workplaces don't allow internet access. will that change?
  • recent survey in universities re use of social media and LMS - not alot of teachers using social media.
  • democratisation of knowledge creation is not uncontested.
  • science relies on peer review etc
  • it's a tension when you work in an institution and try to balance all these things
  • what trad teaching had was the comfort of teachers being able to tell you if you were doing it right - on the web it takes alot longer to feel comfortable. How do you measure the benefits of ICT.
  • teachers are comfortable in lecture theatres - they're not comfortable taking that into a public forum.
  • there's a comfort aspect but there's more - would you publish openly if you were paid on this basis? it's all about value propositions at the time. the INTITUTION'S role is to shift those values.