95th ESA Annual Meeting (August 1 -- 6, 2010)

PS 1-3 - Wikis in the classroom: Properties and potential uses of this collaborative learning tool

Monday, August 2, 2010
Exhibit Hall A, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Jayna L. DeVore1, Kristen K. Cecala2 and John C. Maerz2, (1)School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, (2)Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Student engagement is tied to course performance and information retention.  Shifting the focus of the classroom from a lecture-based approach to a student-centered learning environment is one way to achieve this goal.  One tool that can be used to allow student contribution to the content and direction of a course is a wiki.  Wikis are highly flexible collaborative websites that can be structured to meet course needs and allow multiple users to contribute to site content. They provide a platform where real-time editing can be performed in a flexible 'topical' format.  They are intended to promote group learning through collaboration rather than isolated reflection, and can provide another avenue through which instructors can connect with various types of learners through multimedia learning.


We will present multiple ways in which wikis can be used in the classroom, such as collaborative projects, peer review, debates, competitions, and student comments and reflections on course material. Within these contexts faculty can promote the use of multimedia and creativity within student work and enable peer learning through public project viewing.  They also track each student’s edits and additions to site content, allowing for instructor assessment of an individual’s contributions to group progress. We have found that the use of the wiki format promoted class participation, a sense of community within the course in question, and a feeling of project ownership and accomplishment.