Author Archive for Martha Burtis

Wiki Panel: Editing Each Other

Great comments and questions during the wiki panel this morning. One topic that came up was students’ comfort levels with editing each other’s work in the wiki. I’m intrigued by this, because while I find the idea of collaborative authorship fascinating (and I’m always dreaming about what the perfect collaborative writing tool would be), I myself have difficulty editing other people’s words in the wikis I participate in. One thing that occurs to me (which is probably pretty obvious, but only just now came to me) is how social relationships outside of the technology affect the ways in which people work in wikis.  Relationships among students probably play out in the wiki–and we have no way of knowing or controlling those relationships. Just another reminder to me that while the technology can augment and alter the ways we communicate, there are essential “human” hurdles that technology cannot flatten.

Picture in a picture in a picture

Cyprien’s talking about Flickr, so I took a picture of Cyprien and posted it in Flickr. And now I’m putting it here:


A Conversation about Blogging

Ernie Ackerman kicked off the blogging panel by talking about his personal blog which he uses for reflection on a variety of topics. Although it’s a personal blog, he occasionally posts about topics covered in class that week and points students to the site for further reading.

An interesting conversation developing about how students treat blogs vs. discussion boards.  Students may treat blogs as more “their own” then a discussion board.  It’s funny how students at first don’t think of their blogs as “public” because they see no evidence that the rest of the world visiting them. But at some point, they just start to live in the blog, and the fact that’s in public seems unimportant.

Students seemed reluctant to post about content outside the walls of their blog — Teresa Coffman found students only did this when they were required to.

In Chemistry, Leanna Giancarlo is using blogs for a history of science class. She wanted to transform the final project where students were creating posters about an under-represented scientist. She considered having them create a Web site, but this required more time for training than she was comfortable with. Ultimately, a class blog was set up–each group presented the content for their scientist on the blog. Leanna also used the blog to have extended conversations about some fundamental questions at the heart of the course, but found getting students to comment and participate was a challenge. For next year, Leanna is considering using the blog to replace some of the ongoing journal entries as well.

From the business department, Dan Hubbard shared two student blogs: Post Haste Taste is a blog about sustainable agriculture by Matt Tucker (part of an independent study). Dan says it best: the best thing about working with Matt was to “see a student catch fire” through blogging. Another student is blogging about Business in Canada for an independent study.

For some comparison, Mike Killian talked about how he used an advanced dicussion forum in an introductory biology class.  He used phpBB, which provides some more advanced features than the discussion forum in Blackboard. One reason, Mike used a forum was because he wanted to add some variety to the evaluation process–students were awarded points for the entries they added to the forum (phpBB allowed Mike to easily scan these comments and determine how many posts an indivdual student had made). The comments were often so enthusiastic that it seemed like students had forgotten the work they were doing was part of an assignment.  The biggest problem Mike encountered was finding the time to respond to the comments from 70 students. Also, as many as 25% of the students had very weak participation. In fact, some students who were great participants during lecture didn’t participate in the forum at all.

With time running short, the rest of the panelists are giving brief summaries of their blogging experience. Jeff McClurken is honest that he is a reluctant blogger because he is self-conscious about his blogging — particulary as an untenured faculty member. Marcel Rotter (whose students used the blog for German writing assignments) found that many of his students were actually very self-concious about blogging, not wanting to post more than their first names.


poster Welcome to the official blog of Faculty Academy 2006. This space will be available before, during, and after the conference as a place to document and record the proceedings of the event. More information about Faculty Academy, and the University of Mary Washington’s Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies, is available at the conference Web site.

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