Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wiki for Research Rollout for ENG 103

This week in my ENG 101 / ENG 103 cluster, we worked on our research topics on our class wiki. (Have a look at eng101lagcc.pbworks.com.) After a previous computer lab session in which we looked at the organization of our wiki pages, I had my students request access with their e-mail addresses. Behind the scenes, I approved their requests. I also created default ‘personal research pages’ with sections for their topics, and the different kinds of sources they will be finding over the next month or so—scholarly articles or psychological studies, newspaper or magazines, and encyclopedia or disctionary articles. Here is an example. Check out the excellent, supportive comments at the bottom. A ’win’ here is that I have included live links to the recommended LaGuardia Library subscription databases to help them locate each kind of source. I hope they will use this online ‘scratch pad’ to collect, annotate and store their growing list of sources. Commenting is also supported—and encouraged. Supplementary instructor pages on our five large research topics (see an example) enhances a paper-based handout with live links to recommended printed and cinematic texts, so students can make an informed choice on a a topic they are interested in, then develop sources and collaborate (a bit) during the research process. I will also post additional shared sources on these pages to facilitate their research. (Students can also do the same, but I will play webmaster and 'harvest' their links occasionally from their individual pages.) I was surprised how adept my students were at understanding the big picture here. Using wikis in this way looks to have potential. Their links will be posted in one place, and other students can browse to see what others are doing in class. I like that wikis are project-based, easy to modify and share. Blogging is for brain-storming and developing topics and engagement with our source texts for the class. So far so good!

1 comment:

  1. Rich--

    You've just proven to me what I have been suspecting all along: different tools fit different classes and/or projects. Part of doing right by our students is choosing the right tool.

    Wikis seem to be PERFECT for working on that big research project, blogs for brainstorming/drafting, social sites for discussion...
    anyone has thoughts on this?