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Using Wikis in Class

What follows are some questions and suggestions concerning the use of wikis
in the classroom.  The discussions appeared on WMST-L in April 2006 and May 
2008.  For additional WMST-L files available on the Web, see the
WMST-L File Collection.

Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 10:19:08 -0600
From: caroline denigan <caroline.denigan AT ADELAIDE.EDU.AU>
Subject: Using Wikis in Women's Studies Courses
Hello List Members This semester my students have been building an on-line
glossary as part of our course Immigrant Women in the Global Economy. We're up
to over 900 posts but right from the start WebCt has been clunky and is not so
well suited to the task. I'm thinking that a class wiki would work much better
and wondering what experience others on this list have with wikis in their
classrooms/courses. Was it used successfully? Did the students enjoy it? Which
wiki did you use? Where is the wiki based... within the University of publicly?

Warm regards, Caroline Denigan caroline.denigan  AT  colorado.edu
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 12:37:51 -0400
From: Tamara Harvey <tharvey2 AT GMU.EDU>
Subject: Re: Using Wikis in Women's Studies Courses
Lisa Gordis discusses her use of a wiki for a class on early American women at:


Tamara Harvey, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor of English and Women's Studies 
George Mason University 
4400 University Drive, MSN 3E4 
Fairfax, VA 22030 
tharvey2  AT  gmu.edu
Date: Sat, 3 May 2008 09:41:38 -0400
From: Jeannie Ludlow <jludlow AT BGNET.BGSU.EDU>
Subject: query--Wikis in class?
Hi all,
I'm revising a very intensive, 6-week grad level introduction to Feminist
Theory course for this summer. I'm trying to find new ways to work with the
students on writing and content without putting unrealistic expectations on
them for workload (the course is already quite reading-heavy).

I think I want to try constructing a Wiki with the class--I've been on the
wetpaint site (the one my campus tech center suggests) and think I can
handle this, if I figure out and iron out problems before the course begins.
Has anyone used a course Wiki for WS? (I'm pretty sure a couple of my
colleagues from BG have.) Do you have any suggestions, warnings, etc. for
me? Is it *really* as straightforward as it seems like it would be?
Jeannie Ludlow, Ph.D.	jludlow  AT  bgnet.bgsu.edu
Undergraduate Advisor
Women's Studies		
228 East Hall		
Bowling Green State U	
Bowling Green OH 43403	
Date: Sat, 3 May 2008 08:59:05 -0500
From: Sandra Shattuck <sdshattuck AT GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: query--Wikis in class?
Wikis really are easy and straightforward. You may want to compare
Wikispaces and PBwiki with Wetpaint, which doesn't seem to be as dedicated
to educational wikis. (However, if your tech folks suggest Wetpaint and are
really knowledgeable about that system, it may be worth using it.) Also, if
your university uses a LMS or CMS (learning or content management system)
like Blackboard, WebCT, or ANGEL, there may be built-in wiki capabilities.
We are just switching to ANGEL, which has wiki- and blog-capability built
into it. The drawback (or benefit) to setting up a wiki on a LMS is that
only registered users of the class may use the wiki.

Like any other instructional technology, the trick is really in how you
structure assignments and how you use the technology. What do you want your
students to do? If they're setting up group project pages and continually
adding/revising information and writing, then a wiki is great. If you want
to focus more heavily on writing, then maybe individual blogs or using
Google Docs is what you need. Please feel free to check out my class wikis
and email me privately if you'd like to talk more.


sdshattuck  AT  gmail.com
s.d.shattuck, phd | http://wurdz.wordpress.com |
http://spidergrrl.com | http://wordweaver.pbwiki.com |
http://twitter.com/rosequark |
Date: Sat, 3 May 2008 14:07:23 -0400
From: "Rizzo, Therese" <trizzo AT ENGLISH.UDEL.EDU>
RSubject: Re: query--Wikis in class?

I also use Wikis in a freshman writing / WS crossover course, and I've had
great success with group work projects.  Using a Wiki makes each group member
accountable for his or her participation because the Wiki records each time a
person modifies or edits the document.  It also allows me to interact with the
documents being produced, so my comments seem to have a much more immediate
effect.  For example, I can challenge or query an idea and the group has to
deal with my comment before they can edit it from the page.  Using a Wiki also
allows my students to incorporate multiple medias in their written product, so
group presentations/projects have become more interactive (for example, I had a
group of students who wrote a paper on Saturday Night Live's use of the word
"bitch" over a ten-year period, and they were able to put clips at different
points in their project to supplement their analysis).

Another plus is that I've found using Wikis helps me with the laborious grading
process--I can see how much work each student has done, and then I can ask the
students to account for their work (or lack thereof).  It's also much easier to
see how the group dynamics are coming together before the project is due.

Good luck!
Therese Rizzo
University of Delaware
Date: Sat, 3 May 2008 16:07:05 -0700
From: Wendy Burton <Wendy.Burton AT UCFV.CA>
Subject: Re: query--Wikis in class?
I have used WIKIs several times, as a supplement to face to face meetings,
especially during compressed or intensive courses. I've experimented with
several different sites.

WIKIs are not as simple or straight forward as they seem, and the over all
response year after year, is the students get frustrated with the form, with
the glitches, and with the insufficient benefit they gain. I am, by the way, an
acknowledge computer geek, so this is not the voice of inexperience leading the
inexperienced. Many of the students I teach are also computer geeks.

I have a much stronger and more positive response when I use a blog, with the
students taking turns posting the week's thought piece and moderating the
comments. Much simpler, much easier to see who has said what and why, and much
less hassle all around.

Dr. Wendy E. Burton
B.A. Adult Education
University of the Fraser Valley
45635 Yale Road
Chilliwack, British Columbia  V2P 6T4  CANADA
email: wendy.burton  AT  ucfv.ca

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