Finding Textbook Resources

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wikis to Help Students Improve

Late, I know…But the good thing is that this week (after the due date for the assignment) I saw some opportunities that were not evident before.

For every exam (face to face, hybrid and 100% online) , I offer students the opportunity to send me their answers to short essay questions on the study guide. I give them a set and then choose a subset to have on the exam. Usually in a class of 20-24 students, about 3 choose to take me up on this. It mostly blows me away, since, who wouldn’t want help on this? :- ) The students who ask for help are usually the ones who already understand the material pretty well, and that leaves the rest who might mostly give vague or incomplete answers. I would offer a wiki for study guide interaction between students and expect them to contribute their own insights and special details on materials, perhaps adding methods for learning concepts. I think that examples of using complete sentences (required and often neglected by some) and good complete work would be very beneficial to all.

Another place for a wiki would be for field trip reports. On my field trip last week, most students submitted their reports prematurely. It seemed like they just wanted to get it finished, but were not very careful about quality. I think that requiring interaction on the wiki would give them good practice, help completing species lists (for example), and get more out of the experience. Each would be helped by the whole and I could learn more about the students and their individual grasp of the information. I would expect that students would share basic information (data like map coordinates) but contribute a unique component (drawing, explanation, link, video, photo).

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