For my assignment this week I was given the following scenario and asked to find a solution using technology I learned about in this week’s resources.
A new automated staff information system was recently purchased by a major corporation and needs to be implemented in six regional offices. Unfortunately, the staff is located throughout all the different offices and cannot meet at the same time or in the same location. As an instructional designer for the corporation, you have been charged with implementing a training workshop for these offices. As part of the training, you were advised how imperative it is that the staff members share information, in the form of screen captures and documents, and participate in ongoing collaboration.
After reading this scenario I immediately thought of using a wiki as a solution. A wiki is a space designed for multiple people to submit and organize information. As Simonson, M., et al. (2012) states “A wiki can be an excellent tool for collaborative online writing assignments and group activities compiling information in a single online resource” (p. 129) The staff members in the scenario could collaborate on a wiki page and each member could embedded his or her own information. Then the group could look over the information and make edits and changes as needed. The great part about the wiki is that when it is finished you have a well created document that can be used as a tool in the future for other employees. As Beldarrain, Y. (2006) explains “Wikis are thought to be more permanent and serious than blogs and may serve as repositories of knowledge” (p. 142).
While wikis are a great place to collect and store knowledge from multiple users and also as a place for those users to collaborate over the knowledge used, it has many other useful purposes in a distance education class. An interesting example I found from Deakin University was the use of a wiki as an ice breaker tool for online students. The students were paired into groups of ten and then given a wiki page with a list of questions. The students then answered the questions for the group to see. The students were encouraged to post pictures of themselves and use hyper linked signatures that when clicked would navigate the user to the students profile. The wiki helped students introduce themselves and create connections with other distance learning students as well as instructors. The online collaboration also allowed the instructor to measure if the students could use the wiki tool. I feel this is a great idea to use for an online class and a possible replacement for the usual discussion board thread.
For more information on the Icebreaker wiki click here!
The wiki’s strength I feel is its ability to improve group projects in a course. In an interesting article a professor at the University of Adelaide implemented a wiki for students to collaborate on and create a major essay together. This was implemented to not only help the students with communication and collaboration in a group setting but also to enhance the quality of the essay being turned in to the instructor. A group project is known to have many problems associated with it that a wiki can fix. Some of these problems are finding a date and time when all the members can meet, some members not doing their fair share of the work, and having members who are shy and do not have a voice in the project. In the article Davidson, R., (2012) address these issues by stating:
The wiki provided them with ubiquitous access to the group work and enabled them to update their findings and easily see which team members had made changes enabling greater version control over their work. All students had an equal chance to participate benefiting shy students in particular, as they generally do not speak up in a traditional face-to-face group meeting. (p. 47)
The wiki is a great tool to use in this scenario because it allows for the members in different regions to connect in one area and share their information. The information can be viewed by the other members and even edited with approval of the other members. This allows for all the members to collaborate over the course materials and allows the instructor to ensure that all members of the group are collaborating and sharing equally. I fell that the wiki would be a great tool to use in this scenario.
For more information on using a wiki for a group project click here!
Augar, N., Raitman, R., & Zhou, W. (2004). Teaching and learning online with wikis. ASCILITE Proceedings. Retrieved July 15, 2014, from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/perth04/procs/augar.html
Davidson, R. (2012). Wiki Use That Increases Communication and Collaboration Motivation. Journal of Learning Design, 5(2), 38-49.
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.