Professional Development

In the '2007 Innovations in Instruction' Category...

Lauren @ Students Don’t Fear the Wiki

Thursday, August 16, 2007 11:13 am

Students Don’t Fear the Wiki: Encouraging Student Engagement and Responsible Student Scholarship Through Wikis
Paula Patch and Bill Wisser

From Paula Patch (one of the presenters from the last session)

  • Discussion of what is Wikipedia, better for popular or timely topics, etc
  • Most in the room discourage the use of Wikipedia in their courses by providing resources to use and requiring the use of databases
  • When students feel the need to go to Wikipedia for their final exam study (etc), we have to consider what is it about the culture of our classroom that makes students think they have to go beyond the course materials?
  • From Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, “The site is a wonderful starting point for research. But it’s only a starting point because there’s always a chance that there’s something wrong, and you should check your sources if you are writing a paper.”
  • Students will use Wikipedia; therefore, we should teach them how to use it responsibly
  • Very accessible to students, not threatening
  • Accessible to young students as readers and consumers of knowledge; not part of their sphere of research
  • Best Wikipedia pages are between 10th and 12th grade reading level! I had no idea!
  • The use of links within a Wikipedia entry allow non-linear reading and learning; they’re also used to this
  • May high schools with small library budgets do require the use of Wikipedia; students from these schools are used to it
  • How successful can a ban on Wikipedia be? They’ll still use it, just won’t cite it or tell you
  • A quote from one of Paula’s colleages: “Our students are not deficient; they are raw.” They’re not dumb, they’re just unskilled. We need to teach the skills.
  • Our job is to create thoughtful assignments and teaching methods to teach them about the conventions of academic inquiry
  • “Why are we telling our students not to use Wikipedia rather than educating them about how Wikipedia works?”
  • Explained Wikipedia project described in last post
  • Read about Wikipedia, understand how the site works, analyze the accuracy of a Wikipedia entry, discuss and reflect on the analysis in an argumentative essay
  • Her class is about writing, not Wikipedia; our class is actually about the analysis of sources…
  • 3/5 students deemed their entries unreliable
  • Process led students to question the accuracy and reliability of unreferenced, anonymously composed source material
  • During the project, students were exposed to “good” (scholarly) sources
  • Compelled by project to follow up and verify information
  • Final step is an essay discussing their analysis, pointed out that non-writing classes could turn the final step into a presentation (discuss sections of article for the class)
  • Toying with idea to create semester long project with same goals, but fleshing out a Wikipedia entry

From Bill Wisser

  • Encouraging student engagement through wikis
  • Discussed the basic whats and whys of wikis
  • Pointed out benefits of wiki over blackboard: no individual ownership, collaborative, visible progress I would say simpler, too
  • No longer about the product, it’s about the process
  • Pointed out drawbacks: don’t want technology to get in way of pedagogy, vandalism
  • Demoed two of his wikis: History of Genocide and Modern World History
  • Central question: Does the use of wikis in the classroom enhance, supplement, replace, or provide something new?

Lauren @ Free and Hot

Thursday, August 16, 2007 10:18 am

After much internal debate, I decided to attend “Free and Hot: Using Popular Web Resources to Teach Research Skills and Critical Thinking.” I wasn’t sure if I should go–we’re doing a lot of this anyway–but figured if there is anything new out there I should know it, so I joined Kaeley to watch our local library colleagues.

Free and Hot: Using Popular Web Resources to Teach Research Skills and Critical Thinking
Christine Whittington, Jennie Hunt, and Michael Sistrom from Greensboro College
Paula Patch from Elon University
Amy Harris and Scott Rice from UNCG

  • Whole thing kicked off by Christine Whittington with really interested scenarios involving students’ use of free online resources in their research (like Wikipedia for really current topics, YouTube as a source, citing from Google Scholar, etc.)
  • Old saying, “You get what you pay for.” But things have changed.
  • Found smaller universities/college find the exciting free materials (because they have to be more creative due to budget constraints)
  • Mentioned read/write culture and the rise of the need to teach people to be critical. Yay!

From Jennie Hunt

  • Discussion of group projects, how one person often does a lot of work and the rest can slack off
  • Will be using Google Notebook this fall in her course
  • Google Notebook assignment: basically creating a private wiki
  • Shares them with specific accounts (other group members, instructor, etc)
  • Individually add content (source, annotation, etc.) and have them add their own name to the note they added
  • Finishes class with presentation of notebooks
  • 5-10 minute presentation each, must justify cites in presentation.
  • There is no history associated with Notebook (as there is with Google Docs or a wiki)

From Paula Patch, english instructor

  • Defined wiki, Wikipedia, discussed pros and cons
  • Drew parallel between Wikipedia and class: Our goal is that people take risks and talk in class, and learn when it’s pointed out they’re incorrect… Wikipedia does that, too
  • Banning and saying “no” isn’t transformative teaching. They’re not going to stop doing it… they’re just not going to tell you. Leaves teachers not trusting students, cutting and pasting text into Google to see if they copied it.
  • Meet them where they are! (Hint: they’re not on scholarly sites, they’re on Google and Wikipedia)
  • Wikipedia assignments to show students the strengths and weaknesses of Wikipedia
  • Assessing a Wikipedia entry (first major assignment in her class)
  • Moves to unfamiliar (library related research) later in semester
  • For the first Wikipedia assessment assignment: has them read Wikipedia entry and criticism of Wikipedia entry
  • Has them read The Hive, the Nature Study, Britannica’s refutation, and a scholarly Wikipedia article
  • Then, they get on Wikipedia with a context
  • Gives them a Wikipedia page and criteria to evaluate it: who wrote it, references, etc

From Michael Sistrom

  • Discussed gold mine of online resources such as Frontline archives
  • Wants people to use web responsibly and see interconnectedness of disciplines as well as parts of campus (such as librarians & faculty)
  • Becomes more and more clear that it’s good to know what they’re learning in other classes, run assignments by ID folks, discuss research assignments with librarians
  • More they see it in other classes, more reinforcement, makes it easier to build
  • Has student create a site: how to make it interesting, short, concise, use of images, etc.

Amy Harris and Scott Rice

  • “Gaming is our shtick, it’s what we do.” :)
  • Used del.icio.us to share links
  • Talked about Flickr as a tool for critical thinking
  • Demoed commenting and notes in Flickr (and cited me :) )
  • Discussion of digital native, less shy online (in print), more shy in person
  • Then got into gaming!
  • Guess the Google gives you images and you have to guess what the word is that the images represent
  • Showed their information literacy game

Lauren @ Opening Plenary

Thursday, August 16, 2007 8:15 am

Today Kaeley, Elizabeth, and I are at Elon University for the fourth annual Teaching and Transformation conference. I think I’ve been to three of the four so far, and they get more interesting each year. We’re going to leave a little early to get back in time for the staff meeting, but I’m going to liveblog the events I am able to attend & including my personal comments in italics.

Periclean Scholars for Life: Transforming Lives in Theory and Practice
Charity Johansson and Tom Arcaro

From Charity Johansson

The Johansson Model for Transformative Learning

  • Scholars in transformative learning field: Jack Mezirow, Robert Boyd, Paulo Freire, Edward Taylor, and Patricia Cranton
  • Johansson model: status quo -> disruption -> expansion -> integration -> [status quo] -> disorientation -> disruption -> [analysis] -> expansion -> [verification] -> integration -> {maintenance}
  • Parts of disorientation process: readiness/experience/engagement/investment
  • Parts of analysis process: reflection/assumptions/critical analysis/shared process/options
  • Parts of verification process: choice/plan/skills/action

From Tom Arcaro

  • Transforming Student Lives by Creating Global Citizens
  • Periclean Scholars program designed to meet this goal
  • Showed video of student in program. Students combine studies… this student was also in a media convergence class. I really like incorporating this type of multimedia!
  • Brought large decisions to the class to make (ex. who goes to Africa to represent the class?) How would this work if we were to let the students decide as a group about the grading structure, assignments, etc
  • Gave students ownership of class and responsibility for their learning

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