Wiki-ing Your Way to Collaborative Learning

Wiki-ing Your Way to
Collaborative Learning
Molly Beestrum
Kenneth Orenic
Rebecca Crown Library
Dominican University
River Forest, IL
 English 102 includes Information Literacy Foundation
Requirement (ILFR).
 Librarians are paired with English 102 sections
Teach at least 2 sessions, often more
 Prepare students for Annotated Bibliography
Assessed by instructor and librarian
Successful implementation but…
…Students have consistent difficulty with
 Created opportunity for practice
Collaborative Learning
 “Most instructors have stood in front of a class only to
wonder if their only purpose on that day was to serve
as a sedative for the majority of the class.” – Payne,
et al (2006)
 Collaborative learning can make any topic interesting
by actively involving students
 Group work is one example of collaborative learning
practice. CL can provide:
an opportunity to practice
a safe environment (safety in numbers)
increased communication and improved social skills
and it breaks up time
Collaborative Learning
Benefits of collaborative learning as discussed in the literature:
 Encourages collective
 Enhances
information retention
ability to analyze,
formulate and solve
 Improves
teamwork skills
critical thinking skills
group processing
social skills
 Increases
insight on and interest in
a particular topic
individual accountability
 Promotes
better comprehension
active processing
positive interdependence
 Stimulates deeper
Shared Workspace or Groupware
 One aspect of Collaborative Learning is the use of
group work. Technology provides in the form of
 Students’ attitudes toward using a shared workspace
Helps support team work
Facilitates and encourages sharing of resources
Easy and continuous access
Easy to update and share updates
Limits repetition of information
Reduces number of paper copies
Facilitates monitoring of group or individual progress
Resources available even if student doesn’t show up
- Nicol, Littlejohn and Grierson (2005)
Wikis as Groupware
 Pages can be easily updated in real time
PBWiki: WYSIWYG editing available
Pages can be edited collectively
Links to other websites, files, images and "widgets"
can be easily added
Track history of changes
View recent changes
Revert content to an earlier iteration
Alert users to any changes to the wiki
Search content by keyword
Access to wiki can be set to public or private
Using Wikis in English 102
 So we gave it a shot…
 Designed some simple assignments to
acclimate students to wiki use
 Focused on creating short group activities to
provide students an opportunity to practice
 Reinforced learning with examples, mini
lectures, review, and demonstrations
Using Wikis in Library Instruction
 Answering Specific Questions Using a Database
 Brainstorming for Topics and Search Terms
 Writing Annotations Using The CRAP Test
Searching: Locating Answers to Specific
Searching: Locating Answers to Specific
Annotations: Using the CRAP Test
to Evaluate Information
The CRAP Test in Action
 Students were grouped by
topic, in this case Education,
and asked to brainstorm for
ways to narrow the topic
 In later iterations students
were asked to then create
search strategies for the
brainstormed topics using
Or, And, truncation, phrases
and nesting.
 Brainstorming
 Evaluating Sources
 Sample article
 CRAP criteria
 Groups of 3-4 students
 Designate a scribe
 Asked to read aloud
The Resulting Annotation:
 This article discusses homelessness in later
life. It was written in order to find out the
causes of homelessness in elderly of in
selected urban areas of the United States,
England and Australia. It was also written in
order to prevent it from happening. It was
written for society so that people can be
Refining collaborative assignments
More Directions, More Options
 Groups chose an article to evaluate based on a
previous exercise. Mixed results.
Annotation Examples
Annotation Examples
More Brainstorming, with Search Strategies Added
Your Turn to Practice
 Each table has been provided with an article to
evaluate as well as the CRAP test criteria
In your table groups, evaluate the article based on
the criteria provided
Collectively write an annotation – 5 or 6 sentences –
providing a critical and evaluative description of the
article (post top the wiki if possible!)
Spend a few minutes reflecting on the process and
considering it from the student perspective
Be prepared to share with the audience – both
annotations and thoughts
Your Turn to Practice – Part 2
 Each table has been provided with a sample scenario
 As a group, brainstorm for ways to include
collaborative learning in the IL session
 Design at least one small group activity that could
utilize a wiki or other groupware tool
 Consider the following:
Time for the activity
Group size
Material provided: resources, instructions, guidelines,
examples, etc.
Implementing and setting the tone
 Be prepared to share with the audience
Scenario 1
 Psychology 290 Research Methods: Students
are assigned a psychological disorder (clinical
depression, post traumatic stress disorder, social
phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, etc), and a
treatment (drug therapy, behavior therapy, or
cognitive-behavior therapy). They are asked to
find three scholarly articles on the disorder and
the treatment and write a critical synthesis of the
three articles. The instructor would like the
students to use PsycINFO and to focus on
locating clinical trials.
Scenario 2
 History 300 - Historiography: Students are
asked to research a topic, event or person in
20th century American history and compare
the treatment through texts across three
different decades. Eg. Teapot Dome Scandal
in 1930s, 1970s and 1990s. Research
includes critical reception of the texts which
may require use of older review periodicals
(on microfilm). The instructors often provide a
list of topics selected by students for this
project prior to the session.
Scenario 3
 Business 250 - International Business: Students
are assigned a research project - the CIRCLE
Project (acronym for Company, Issues, Region,
Country, Leadership, and Economic
environment) in which they choose any
international business-related topic. Throughout
the semester they explore their topic, develop a
research question, and answer that question
while considering recommendations and future
implications. Some examples from past
semesters have included: Wal-Mart and ethics,
unemployment in the European Union, Foreign
Direct Investment in Iraq.
Scenario 4
 English 274 – Literary Criticism: Students are
required to complete a research paper on one
of the required texts (e.g. Othello) as examined
through the lens of one area of critical theory
(e.g. Feminist, Structuralist, Marxist) including
at least 30 sources – scholarly articles and
books only. The instructor encourages the use
of MLA International Bibliography.