New Wiki Experiment Wednesday, Feb 20 2008 

I’ve started adding student-created content to a wiki at pbwiki

My on campus 1102 students (2 sections) are reading The Kite Runner, which I chose because there is not an abundance of online material they can reference. Instead, they will collaborate to create the content that they might normally look for online.

Some plans/concerns:

  • I can collect the student’s content (study guides, quiz questions, blog posts, etc) and post them.
  • If I set this up in pbwiki, they can edit and revise (I can give them all a password to enter the wiki).
  • I’m not sure they will edit, but it’s not a requirement of the course (yet). Next time they do group work, however, I can have them log in and type their answer in the wiki (or copy and paste from a Word document).
  • “minutes” of group discussions can also be posted to the wiki to indicate progress even if the content isn’t finalized in class.
  • Students can learn from other groups. Even if topics are the same, content or focus may differ. Depth of answers definitely will.
  • This will benefit students who miss class–will it encourage missing though?

Right now, I am slowly adding the information students created in their groups two weeks ago because it did not occur to me before this to use a wiki for this type of project. Now that I’m learning more about wikis in the weblogs and wikis course though, I have high hopes for this collaborative tool. I have no idea how this will turn out this semester or to what extent I will use it in my class, but as I am just learning how to use wikis myself, this is really just an experiment. It’s also important to show the students that I am still learning too. Next fall, though, I should have a much better picture of how to implement and facilitate this project.

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Cheap ploy to gain readers Wednesday, Feb 6 2008 

I recently discovered, quite by accident, a decidedly cheap trick to gain readers: post a story title like The Kite Runner and the word essay in your tags, categories and/or posts. Watch your stats jump. Why? Because a lot of folks are looking for a short cut. Or am I being cynical? So far much of the traffic to my class blogs are coming from Google, using “essays on the kite runner” as the search phrase. Sigh.

Weekend to myself Sunday, Feb 3 2008 

Paul’s folks took McKenna to Bemidji last night, so I went with my sister to see The Kite Runner. I then tinkered with Google Earth and revisited some major London tourist attractions. I also just completed uploading picture to Flickr. Now it’s time to read journals, blogs, and topic proposals.