I didn’t know until yesterday that Google had Sites, which are basically wikis.
Video: “Google Sites Tour“
Last week, I wrote a short post titled “What Is Google Wave?” and included some videos about Google’s new tool that “will be available later this year.” According to the Official Google Blog, a “‘wave’ is equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more” (“Went Walkabout. Brought back Google Wave“).
Since the announcement, a lot of people have been writing about it:
“Google Wave is a new tool for communication and collaboration on the web, coming later this year.” According to an article, “Google’s Wave Consolidates Core Online Features in One Tool,” on PCWorld.com, it “consolidates features from e-mail, instant messaging, blogging, wikis, multimedia management and document sharing.” For more information, see “Google Wave: A Complete Guide” at Mashable and the following videos:
Video: “Google Wave: Natural Language Processing“
Video: “Google Wave: Live collaborative editing“
Video: “Google Wave Developer Preview at Google I/O 2009“
Video: “Google Wave Founding Team Interview“
This semester I’m teaching four sections of second-semester freshman composition: three sections of ENG 1020 (two on campus and one online) for Metro and one section of ENG 122 (online) for Red Rocks. I’m using the same main textbook, The Bedford Researcher, for all the classes, and the assignments will also be the same for all of them.
I’ve been trying to figure out what would be the most efficient way to post instructions for assignments that I didn’t include in the syllabus (i.e., everything but the papers). I could repeat the information in the wiki for the on-campus Metro classes and the course shells for both online courses, or I could post it once somewhere else and link to it. That way, if I need to make any corrections, I only have to make them once.
I decided finally that this blog is the best place to post the assignments. That way, my students can all ask any questions they have in the same place, and I’ll be notified immediately because I moderate the comments.
I’ll try it this semester and see how it works.
This semester I taught three second-semester freshman composition classes: one section of ENG 1020 on campus for Metropolitan State College of Denver and two sections of ENG 122, one on campus and one online, for Red Rocks Community College. For the two of these classes that were taught on campus, and the others I taught, I used Wetpaint wikis (linked in the previous sentence) to update course schedules and post assignments. In addition, I created a College Research wiki where I provided information on research and students uploaded reviews of internet research tools.
For the last research journal assignment in the writing classes listed above, the students were asked to “[d]iscuss the usefulness and effectiveness of the internet tools you used in the class: the blog [for a research journal], the Delicious bookmarks, and the wikis.”
In their research journals, students offered the following comments about the wikis:
- “The class wiki helped me stay on top of our assignments and also was very helpful when I happened to have questions about the class.”
- “I believe the Wiki was extrememly helpful for organizing the class, the schedule, and the deadlines. I was able to plan projects based on the posted schedule and also look up information I had forgotten.”
- “I did not like the Wiki so much really confusing for me.”
- “As for the wikis, I liked them. All that I really used them for was to check my assignments. The web address is easy enough to memorize and there is no logging in, making it easy access from anywhere.”
- “I also really enjoyed the class wiki because it was a nice way to always check what home work may be due, or if you missed a class you can see what you missed. If was also a good way for the instructor to not have to worry about problems in changing the syllabus and having to print off new ones. Just post the new information or dates and when someone checks to see it is the most current information and is easy to trust. I do wish and hope that some instructors will adopt this form of class involvement, I used the wiki ALOT this semester.”
- “The class wiki was great too. It was better than having everything planned out in the hard copy syllabus. With so many changes and alterations over the semester in scheduling and deadlines, it was nice to have a location that was updated and easy to look at. (I bet it was nice for you as well Professor Clark, so everyone wasn’t emailing you constantly!)”
- “The college research wiki was helpful for sure but I don’t know that I will continue to use it regularly simply because it wasn’t so helpful that it stood out to me. There are so many ways to research things and some of the researching I did on with this was just so overwhelming. I guess it would depend on what I am looking for and how hard it is to find it.”
- “The college research wiki was useful in the way that it had a lot of different search tools lumped into one. However, some of the websites listed wasn’t much help. They would be too complicated or the information needed to be checked.”
- “The Wikis were also nice, and I found them to be much more efficient and well-organized than say blackboard.”
- “The wiki’s were a great idea I must say. Everything you need and almost any question you need to be answered is right at your fingertips on the wiki sites.”
- “The wikis were the most helpful to me. I would view the ENG 122 wiki every week to check out the course schedule, the research assignment, and find the links to other sites. I think the wikis were probably the most effective tool used this semester. The fact that I actually used them on a regular basis probably helped.”
- “The wiki was very very useful. I wished that other classes of mine used the same method. Whenever I was confused about an assignment I would check the wiki, and did not have that luxury for other classes. I found myself checking the wiki several times a week in order to be sure I knew what was going on in the class.”
To protect their privacy, even though their comments are on their public blogs, I’m not including students’ names.
I will definitely continue using the wikis as I did unless I can find something better. I just need to get around to requesting that the ads be removed since I’m using them for classes.
I plan include comments on the Delicious accounts and blogs in future posts.
I discovered recently that I have fewer problems editing pages in Wetpaint when I use Firefox than when I use Internet Explorer:
- The editing toolbar seems to open faster. (I haven’t actually timed it.)
- Internet Explorer has crashed several times on different computers, usually when I’ve been working in a table. That hasn’t happened with Firefox.
- In Explorer, when I highlight text in a table to add a link, the table editing toolbar opens over the Link button on the main toolbar. When I click on the main toolbar to move it so I can create the link, the text is unselected, and I have to highlight it again. This doesn’t happen in Firefox; the text remains highlighted when I click on the toolbar to move it.
Posted in Web 2.0
Tagged browser, wiki