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Educational uses of wikis

October 14, 2010

Wikis are web-based tools that can foster collaboration and creativity.  At this week's Tech Thursday, three faculty members talked about how they have integrated wikis into their teaching for a variety of purposes.

Deborah Jensen discussed an assignment in which students in her Children's Literature class created author studies.  Individual students used the wiki tool within Blackboard to build web sites about the life and work of their selected author.  Students included text, images, videos, and links to articles and interviews, thereby satisfying many of the technology competencies required of graduates of Hunter's School of Education.  Students in the class shared the process and product of their efforts with each other and also exported their wikis for use as resources in their own and their classmates' teaching.

Continuing the work of his FITT 2009 project, Markus Bidell tasked groups of students in his hybrid Counseling Theories class to bring a particular theory to life by creating wikis.  Inspired by examples of work from previous students and the flexibility of the wiki tool, this group of students produced creative wikis that included overviews of the theories and videos demonstrating the theories in practice.

Benjamin Miller used a tool called Wikidot to build a course site for his English 120 section.  Benjamin used the wiki site to post class announcements and class notes, which students could edit.  Students wrote drafts of their papers on the wiki and viewed version comparisons of their work using the "history" feature of the wiki.  Students found that the wiki tool facilitated the process of revising and experimenting that Benjamin encouraged.  Students also created a collective annotated bibliography with tagged items, which become a resource for the class.