Tag Archives: wiki

Down the #altc road

altconfpodcast

Reading Maren Deepwell’s recent post about her #altc journey, it reminded me of the many conferences I have attended and like her the impact that they had on my life and professional practice. Going back to my experiences of my first ALT-C I was surprised I even went again!

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Just checking the e-mail…

iOS e-mail

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? What’s the first thing you do when you sit down at your desk at work? I suspect you are probably checking your e-mail? It wouldn’t surprise me that you leave your e-mail client (like Outlook) open all the time and respond as those little pop-ups appear on your screen. So how often do you check your e-mail?

Actually I would think that if you are reading this blog, having seen the link on social media, that your answers to those questions would differ from the norms of the behaviour of most people in the workplace.

For many people e-mail is their work. Usually the first activity when arriving at work (after making a coffee of course) is checking the e-mail. Then throughout the working day the e-mail is checked and checked again. Productive activity is interrupted by those lovely notifications popping up. Mobile devices like the iPhone suddenly make e-mail even more accessibly, those red numbers going up and up and make it essential the e-mail is checked again, even when travelling, at home and at weekends. Work is e-mail and e-mail is work.

I find it interesting how often we default to e-mail as the main communication tool, to the point where it replaces other forms of communication or discussion. People also often use e-mail for various activities that really e-mail wasn’t designed for.

Continue reading Just checking the e-mail…

100 ways to use a VLE – #84 Collaborating on a Wiki

Working together in groups is a key part of most organisations, it makes sense from an educational perspective that learners work together on group assignments in preparation for when they will work in teams in the workplace.

The process of working together on a collaborative assignment brings a lot of challenges, one of which is where should learners collaborate when working on a document. There are various public tools such as Google Docs and public wikis that can be used. Most VLEs have a wiki built in to their functionality.

Regardless of which tools is used, the VLE can be the staging post that will allow the learners to jump into their collaborative document. Learners may choose to use the built in wiki, however as a group they may choose to use a tool such as Google Docs or a public wiki such as PBwiki.

Wikis allow multiple learners to work on a single document, you can break the document down into pages with links between the different pages.

Wikis allow learners to work on the document when and where they want to, at a time and place to suit their circumstances.

Wikis can often be edited and worked on using mobile devices, enabling easier access and collaboration when required.

Wikis are often more accessible than working together on a word processed document and will work with screen readers and other assistive technologies.

Unlike simple word processed documents, wikis also enable learners to embed rich media into them. Short video clips can be embedded, as can audio and images. You may also be able to embed other content into them, such as RSS feeds, slides from a service such as SlideShare, pages from other services.

Wikis can contain links, internally and externally to sources and other relevant content.

One nice feature of collaborative tools is the history that is recorded, it outlines not only the changes to the document, but who did what when. This feature can make it much easier to assess the final outcome. Of course when using the wiki within the VLE the assessor will have access to that history, when using other collaborative tools, access may needed to be given to assessor.

At the end of the day, wikis are a powerful tool that allow learners to collaborate together to complete a joint outcome. Whether they use the wiki on the VLE, one that offers familiarity within the interface, or merely use the VLE as a jump off point using an external tool, they provide many learning possibilities and opportunities of working together.

Teach with your iPad

A clever idea. Use a wiki to crowdsource good ideas on using the iPad to support teaching and learning.

http://teachwithyouripad.wikispaces.com/

Has (at might be expected) have a slightly American slant, but none the less still useful.

100 ways to use a VLE – #7 Assignment Submission

essay0709

We often ask learners to submit assignments, often with a top sheet and to get it signed in. All this takes time and staff.

So why don’t we use the tools that we have in the VLE?

Most VLEs like Moodle, have the option of allowing learners to submit assignment electronically. The student uploads their assignment (as an electronic file). The VLE records the time and date of submission and more often then not, gives the student a receipt of their submission.

The tutor can very easily see which students have submitted and which haven’t. Some VLE assignment submission systems can be configured to not accept late submissions, but even if you do, you will be able to see which were late and which were on time.

Using tools such as Turnitin, it is possible to add automatic plagarisim detection to the submission process, flagging up assignments which may or may not need to be checked.

So why don’t we do it more often?

Well there are lots of reasons and some of them are quite valid.

If you submit electronically, then you need to mark them electronically, and some staff have reservations about marking on a screen. Either they don’t like looking at a screen for a long time or they don’t have easy access to a computer. Also though tools such as Word do allow for commenting and annotation, they are not the most intuitive of tools to use. As a result they will often print the assignments out, this means instead of twenty learners printing out one document each, the lecturer will be printing twenty out, which takes time, the time which was supposed to be saved by the learners submitting their documents electronically.

The learner will need access to the VLE to submit their work. If they don’t have access from home, will they be able to do so from college. It makes sense to think about the deadline for assignments as a result.

What about when the assignment submission process fails? The VLE doesn’t work or falls over. Well common sense approach works here, in the same way if the member of staff who collects physical assignments was ill, you just work around the problem and provide the students with a different way of submitting work, or change the deadline.

What about if learners don’t want to submit electronically? If as a institution you are embracing the concept of personalisation, then electronic submission may be just one way in which students can submit work, you may want to offer them a choice.

One solution which staff may want to think about is changing the way they mark electronic documents, stop thinking of them as electronic paper documents that you “write” on, but as digital files and as a result use digital technologies to mark them. What about using audio or video to provide feedback? Record your thoughts and feedback as you mark the document; then the student will be able to listen to your feedback as a virtual you and they go through the assignment. The JISC Sounds Good project did some interesting work on this. One of the tutors at Gloucestershire College has also undertaken a trial with recording feedback, and has had very positive feedback from the learners, who have taken more notice of the audio feedback and found it more useful.

Of course some assignments just don’t fit electronic submission, a poster for example. However just because one format of assignment doesn’t fit, doesn’t mean we should never use electronic submission. Electronic submission actually makes it possible for a wider range of assessments to be submitted than just written assignments. Learners can submit videos, audio files, muti-media presentations. With tools such as Google Docs, wikis, Prezi, Slideshare and other online presentation sites it is now much easier for learners to demonstrate their understanding.

Submitting assignments through the VLE is one way in which you can increase use of the VLE and make it easier for learners to get a better understanding of how it works and more choice on what and how they submit their work.

Photo source.