The Wonderful World of Wikis Created by Mary Wendt Edited by Leah Stahl Why I Went With Wikis MSU uses ANGEL as their Course Management Software (CMS) Other systems include Blackboard, WebCT, and Moodle These range from very user friendly to ugly, messy, and cumbersome, with little user control over content. I find ANGEL cumbersome and confusing. For example, this is a Moodle page BEFORE I have added anything. Imagine the clutter after I have posted several things! (ANGEL looks a little more organized—but not much.) It’s Not All Bad… Although ANGEL has some advantages, like privacy for submitting work, the complicated process of adding and editing content is irritating. I often struggled to do the simplest things using ANGEL. In short, it did not save me time. So I Went With Wikis I know of three free wiki providers wikispaces.com pbwiki.com wetpaint.com I use wikispaces, although the others are perfectly fine. So Exactly What is a Wiki? This little video gives a brief (and very simplified) overview of the wiki concept (3:52) What Have I Used Wikis For? Course management Communicating with students Collaboration Student journals Storing course documents and more… The wiki homepage is where I put all homework for the following class period and any announcements. This eliminates those annoying emails about homework from the kids who missed class. Easy to Navigate You create a navigation bar to all the pages in your wiki—and only the pages you want, nothing you don’t need I make a page for all my handouts and readings. If students lose documents, they can access them on the wiki. You can upload them as pdf files or as Word documents, or… You can make a page for the document, as I do for the syllabus. (this is a pbwiki page—thought I’d show you one) Student Pages I have each student make their own page, where they can post their picture. It is their space. They’re great for journaling, uploading documents, sharing ideas, commenting on one another’s journals, and collaborating. For example… Here, a student did an analysis of a blog. Using his wiki page, he could link to the blog and discuss it—this made it easy to grade because I had the link right there with the student’s analysis. You can have students collaborate on projects by creating group pages on the wiki where they can post information and links, and communicate with each other. I can post the class schedule for them to check at any time, with hyperlinks to relevant documents on the handouts page for what is due Like blogging or forums, students can discuss issues using the DISCUSS tab on every page. Notice the numbers: 142 postings 38 comments Students are collaborating like crazy (25 students in the class) Managing the Wiki Managing the wiki is easy using the MANAGE WIKI link, you can: manage contents go back to previous versions change looks invite members etc. Big Brother When students collaborate, you always know who has contributed and what they contributed by using the HISTORY feature for each page. This invisible part of print-based writing becomes visible. You can even tell what time they did their work. The HISTORY tab gives you the date of an addition, who made the change, and allows you to compare two versions and revert back to a previous version of a page if the newer page is not what you want. Overall Satisfaction Overall I have been very happy using wikis. They have met all my CMS needs and more. They don’t vanish after the semester is over. They can be accessed anywhere without passwords. They are great back-up for your files. The wiki is our friend!