Posted by: jackjohnston | April 28, 2010

Threaded Discussion #2 Wikis Chapters 7 & 8

Chapter 7: Summary
The main idea of this chapter is to point out how the implementation of Wikis into online courses can facilitate collaboration among far removed students. The chapter discusses the positive aspects of Wikis as well as the challenges of using a Wiki.
Collaboration activities have many benefits for learners as discussed by Alden.
One benefit of collaboration among students is that it tends to foster deep learning as opposed to surface learning. This deep learning happens when teaching strategies and assignments for a course are intentionally designed to facilitate and assess peer collaboration and self-reflection, along with the learner being both internally and externally motivated.
The “Wisdom of Crowds” concept is another benefit for online collaboration. Students exposed to the wisdom of the group, learn more and produce a higher quality product than if they had worked independently.
Finally, collaboration activities help prepare students to work effectively in today’s Information Age workplace. The workplace has changed and online tools are used to accomplish many of todays project team-based functions.
A Wiki is defined as a social networking web site that allows collaborative editing of its content and structure by its users. A Wiki has the potential to be an excellent tool to support online collaboration among the entire class or among small teams of students.
It can be used for: Student Team Projects, Discussion Summary, Course FAQ, Course Glossary, and Knowledge Repository.
It is imperative that the instructor plans, monitors, and prompts students to ensure the success of the Wiki for deep learning. Alden suggests seven critical responsibilities for the role of instructor: Set-up Wiki Software, Create Framework for Wiki Pages, Develop Instructions for Students, Encourage Editing of other Students’ Entries, Plan in Advance for Dispute Resolution, Monitor Use of Wiki during the Course, and Evaluate Collaborative Effort.
It is a challenge for academic institutions to select Wiki software. In spite of the challenges, far thinking institutions are taking advantage of Wikis to provide learning opportunities for their distributed students through online collaboration activities.

Chapter 8: Summary
According to many educational experts learning should be socially interactive and involve doing or building something tangible. Learning in a social context allows learners to participate in their own learning. In doing so, the learner becomes more deeply engaged and the learner is empowered. Greater learner related success occurs with more choices and self-directed learning opportunities. When learners are in charge of their on learning, learning is transformed.
Wikibooks are considered to be disruptive technologies. They have the power to change and improve education. Learners contribute to learning rather than the information being handed to them. Furthermore the Wikibook is shared.
Using the powerful disruptive technology of the Wikibook, learning can be transformed. However the authors of Chapter 8 found that building a Wikibook to be somewhat difficult. They also shared challenges in cross-institutional and international designed Wikibooks. Even though they encountered difficulties in their Series of Wikibook Research Projects which they detailed as well as the successes, the authors remain optimistic about transformative learning with Wikibooks.

Conclusion: 7 & 8
It seems to me that both Wiki and Wikibooks can be used to help improve instruction and enhance learning at many levels.
I want to use them both…right now! Experience has taught me not to be in such a rush and in one or maybe both chapters it pointed out to go slow when implementing new technologies.
Wikis and Wikibooks are relevant to teaching and learning today. Using these tools, students can experience transformed learning. I do not think that Wikis or Wikibooks are a passing fad. Clearly Wikipedia has caught on and is not going anywhere soon. I would like to be apart of a far-thinking institution that uses these tools as suggested.
Before starting IT780 I used Wikipedia, but had not given other Wikis much notice. I had not read about Wikibooks. I think that Wikibooks and Wikis are very powerful Web 2.0 tools that have multiple implications for the learning process.
The chapters did not confuse me, but they did leave me with more questions, which is a good thing. The chapters answered many questions that I had, and even some that I did not know that I had. I am eager to read further and learn more about these topics.



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