Using Blackboard Wikis

IDEAS

Basic

1. Sign up sheet.  Create a wiki page with dates when students will be presenting.  Ask students to Edit Wiki Content to sign up next to a date or time.
2. Paired work.  Have pairs of students each create a wiki page for use as a partner workspace.  The 2 students can share ideas project planning deadlines, resources, websites, summaries etc. on their shared page.
3. Topic list.  Brainstorming topics or ideas?  Use 1 wiki page and ask students to each contribute an idea or two. (You’ll be able to see who contributed what).
4. Application. After reading an article or chapter, ask each student to contribute an application, scenario, mathematical concept or scientific procedure.  As a follow up assignment, see number 5.

 Intermediate

5. Categorize Applications. After students have applied an idea, concept, procedure etc., ask them to return to the wiki and organize the content collaboratively by creating new wiki pages.  For example, if the application was to share scenarios that exemplify effective or ineffective management skills, ask students to then collectively categorize those scenarios, creating new wiki pages for different types of management styles and cutting and pasting the original scenarios into the newly determined categories.  Encourage a discussion board around why certain scenarios were included in each category and whether students differ in their opinions of how to categorize the scenarios.
6. Synthesize text.  After reading a chapter or articles, ask students to create a wiki page for each main idea or concept presented in the text.  Individual students then should read the text, write down their thoughts on the main ideas, enter the wiki to see if anyone has already started a page that relates to their main idea or not.  If a page already exists that relates to their thoughts, contribute to that page.  If no page exists that relates to their thoughts, start a new page.  Students should feel free to share on several different pages if they arrive on the wiki and see several pages already created that all relate to their thoughts.  They should also contribute to the work already on the page by probing, rephrasing, summarizing and reflecting as opposed to restating what others have already established.

Advanced

7. Group wikis. When students are working within small groups, encourage each group to use their wiki space for project development and collaboration.  Doing some of the basic and Intermediate activities above as preparation, will teach the group how they can make the tool work for their purposes.  If you want to assess not only their end product, but their individual contributions and ability to collaborate, encourage them to use the wiki (and other Bb group tools) exclusively in their project development.  Each group’s wiki could look very different, but the idea is to assess their ability to use available online tools to create as a team in a way that accomplishes the task and values everyone’s contributions.

8. Shared research.   In an online course, ask students to participate in a shared research project where they collaboratively build a product together.  Use the wiki as a project planning tool, designating a project manager who sets a timeline on the wiki home page and includes all group members contact information.  Next, the group creates pages as needed to accomplish the task.  Perhaps 2 students indicate that they will create and develop a page on the history of ___ or background of ___.  Another individual indicates that she will create and develop a page on the underlying theory behind ___.  A group of 3 students indicate interest in creating a page or series of pages that explore current research on____ and later decide to focus on 3 main schools of thought on the topic. Others in the group decide how they can contribute to accomplish the end task and create wiki pages that outline their contributions. One group member sees that the individuals are not reading each others contributions for example, so he decides to contribute by reading every new post and sharing relevant information with participants who might be interested (he edits multiple wiki pages to add his contributions across many groups/individuals or uses the comment feature to make page users aware of another page/group).

Questions about how these ideas work? Do you have ideas?  Did you try a wiki?  What were your results? 

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