In this section we provide some of our own thoughts on the experience of using this tool.
JP - I found the initial stages very scary - being faced with an empty wiki with no pre-determined way forward was a bit unsettling; unknown fellow collabotator was unnerving. However, once we got settled into using the tool we both found our own way of working and I found the experience very interesting. My initial ideas had been to develop such a tool within some of our classes at Divinity to foster collaboration and at the same time develop a valuable resource. From working on this assignment I have gained valuable insight on this:-
- need to give the students simple exercises on how to use the tool right at the start
- need to set very specific tasks to give focus
- editing other peoples work is difficult - how to do this without giving offense. I wonder in our blended-learning environment whether the group dynamics can be created face-to-face to allow this to happen
- as with any collaborative work sharing the workload is hard - one of the benefits in working in groups is to pool on individual skills but ensuring everyone does contribute needs some thought
- how much should the tutor/teacher modify errors - a question that holds across all student focussed learning
- hard to determine a stopping point - temptation is to keep going
- style of writing - for me anyway it seemed appropriate to adopt a more informal/even chatty style; does not fit in with the traditional form of academic discourse - is this good or bad?
- found it easier to work within a traditional framework for setting the work out (introduction/conclusions, etc); students not so bound may feel more free to explore other ways. Even within our fairly traditional layout I tended to move between the different parts as thoughts/readings dictated.
In terms of the future I would like to make use of both weblog and wiki technology. For us I can see weblogs being useful where individuals are given tasks; they then post to the weblog their findings and fellow students can add comments. Wiki use may be at a later stage in the class/course development where students are given a group task to work on together.