Posts Tagged ‘wiki’

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Writing Wikis

posted: 3.12.13 by Steve Bernhardt

This spring, I am teaching “Introduction to Professional Writing” to a group of 35 undergraduates who are choosing to concentrate in professional writing within our English major. We are exploring career options, developing ePortfolios, gaining familiarity with some central research and theory, developing tools, and imagining what the future holds for writers in workplaces. We are in the middle of a wiki assignment this week, and it is proving to be a challenging rhetorical task.

I have the class divided into teams of five, and each team must make two contributions to TCBOK—the Technical Communication Body of Knowledge wiki. This project is sponsored by the Society for Technical Communication with the purpose of gathering career-related information into a central resource for the profession. Students can choose to contribute new content to one of the many nodes that are at this time content placeholders, or they can choose to further develop and improve existing material. I tend to like the latter option, since so much workplace writing involves reworking existing texts for new purposes and audiences. Students don’t yet appreciate that, so most choose to develop new content. [read more]

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Categories: Steve Bernhardt
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On Board with Blackboard

posted: 6.25.07 by Barclay Barrios

To continue the “working with imperfect technology” theme . . .

I’ve never been one for Course Management Systems (CMS). WebCT and Blackboard (Bb) always struck me as being imagined for a huge 300-seat lecture course and not specifically for my 22-seat writing course–it was just too much, too big, too complex, too everything So, while I’ve long been a tech kinda person, I’ve also long avoided using CMS of any kind. But that’s changed recently and one of the reasons it’s changed is the Community site feature of Blackboard. One of my colleagues here actually suggested we start one for the writing program and I’ve been so glad that I followed his advice.

The first thing the Writing Program Community site does for us is provide a central document archive where we can post sample assignments, syllabi, and policy statements. These are organized by course so people moving into a course for the first time have one place to look for all the stuff they need to get ready to teach. We’ve also used the discussion board with some limited success (it’s hard to get a critical mass going for sustained discussion, ya know?), most usefully when we want to toss out an issue and get feedback and commentary. The most exciting tool, though, was Teams (though now it seems to be missing… did some new version of Bb come in and rename or lose that tool?). Teams created a mini wiki within Bb. We used it to have all teachers in the program contribute collaboratively to a draft of our new grading criteria. I loved how we could tap into a Wikipedia-like harnessing of the “wisdom of crowds,” and I loved too how every teacher got an equal chance to make any alteration to the developing draft.

The Community site seems to play a bigger and bigger role for me as WPA each year. It provides a virtual space of community, which is handy when you have 60 GTAs, 20 full time instructors, and 10 adjuncts spread over 8 courses on 4 campuses. But I imagine my view is skewed by my role as WPA. That is, I don’t think it functions to create a true virtual community; it’s more like a virtual office where you can drop off or pick up some important forms. I’m not sure what it would take to turn that into a virtual lounge. In my experience, community isn’t planned; it just happens. Still, I’m happy for this feature in Bb. It makes my life easier and it has a lot of potential for us yet to explore.

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Categories: Classroom Challenges and Solutions, Teaching Advice, Teaching with Technology
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wikiHow Much Fun!

posted: 6.21.07 by Barclay Barrios

I don’t even remember how or when I ran across this, but take a moment, take a look, take a break and imagine the potential: wikiHow page

So, of course, off the top of my head (and probably off the top of yours) I’m thinking:

  • Have students read this wikiHow.
  • Have students participate in the discussion and/or edit the page.
  • Have students make similar pages for other grammatical issues, using the handbook and maybe working in teams.
  • Start a class wiki with these sorts of pages.
  • Start a course/program/department/school wiki with these sorts of pages.

And so on and so on. Anyway, that’s it for today. Let me know if you’ve already seen that page or have some others like it!

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Teaching with Technology
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