University of California, Riverside

Web Authoring



Classrooms


With their ease of use and collaborative features, iLearn blogs and wikis open up a universe of possibilities for increasing interactivity and engagement between student peers, as well as between students and instructor. Below are four potential usage scenarios applicable to a variety of courses. Of course, the variety of different possible uses is limited only by the imaginations of the instructor and students. We'd love to hear how you are using blogs and wikis. If you come up with a novel use of these technologies for your class, please contact Leo Schouest, Manager of Faculty & Student Technical Support, at (951) 827-3555, or leo.schouest@ucr.edu.



Daily Reflection/Reading Summary

Students benefit immensely from immediate reflection on course materials, as well as from regular writing exercises. Instructors can create a blog or blogs to which students post their daily reading reflections or summaries. The assignment can be structured in one of two ways: the responses can be made generally available to all other students, to create a collection of responses that allows students to check their understanding against their peers, and concentrates the class’ interpretation of the text, allowing the instructor a clear picture of any collective misunderstandings. Alternatively, the reading response blogs can be made individual and private, accessible only to particular students and the instructor. This allows the students to interact with course materials without concern for their peers’ responses, and makes space for more personal reflection. In either case, the blog tool enables students to post quickly and easily while maintaining a record of their reading reactions/summaries can be useful in studying. Instructors benefit from the ability to assess and record grades for the entries entirely online, eliminating the handing back of papers during class, and offering the students rapid feedback on their performance.


   
Hypothetical Reading Reflection Blog for a Chemical Engineering Course
   

sample reading reflection blog

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Collaborative Writing Projects

As noted above, wikis offer tremendous potential for collaboration. Instructors can use the wiki tool for a variety of collaborative writing projects, ranging from true collaborative essay creation, to compiled group project reports, to collectively generated multimedia websites. Students can be assigned groups and individual groups assigned their own wiki over which they can have varying levels of control. Multiple stages of the writing process can be recorded in a single wiki; students can generate an initial draft that is assessed by the instructor, who offers comments and feedback directly within the wiki’s pages. This information is then easily accessible to the students for further online discussion and editing towards a final draft. As noted above, each student’s individual participation is clearly indicated by the ilearn wiki assessment tool, and can be factored in when assigning final grades for the essay or project. As with the blogs, these assessments can be done entirely online, with grades assigned directly within iLearn. The final projects or essays can remain private or be made accessible to the entire class as a repository of knowledge for exam preparation.


   
Hypothetical Collaborative Writing Project Wiki for a Literature Class
   

sample collaborative writing wiki

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Website Linking Assignment

As a variant on the reading response assignment, instructors can utilize blogs by assigning students to locate and post a web page or other Internet resource relevant to the day’s reading or lecture, and to explain its relevance. This stimulates the students to consider the meaning of the reading assignment or lecture, and encourages them to connect the class’ content to the wider world. A requirement of no duplicate links can preserve the relevance of the assignment, as well as motivating the students to start on it early. As above, student postings can be easily assessed for relevance and quality, and grades quickly assigned online.


   
Hypothetical Web Linking Blog for a Philosophy Class
   

sample web linking blog

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Online Sign-Up Sheet

This is an example of how wikis can simplify even mundane classroom tasks. Here an instructor creates a wiki-based sign-up sheet for classroom presentations, office hour visits, or some other scheduled activity. Using the web-based editor, this is as simple as creating a table within Microsoft Word. Students are instructed to logon and choose their preferred time for the assignment. The wiki allows the students to fill in their name to the relevant space. Because of the wiki’s logging feature, students are discouraged from any kind of dishonesty, and the result is a central resource, accessible from anywhere, without any significant use of classroom time to organize the task.


   
Hypothetical Presentation Sign-up Sheet Wiki for Any Class
   

sample sign up sheet wiki

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More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Computing & Communications
Computing & Communications Bldg.

Tel: (951) 827-4741
Fax: (951) 827-4541
E-mail: helpdesk@ucr.edu

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