Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Using the Blog and Wiki Tools in Blackboard for a Group Project

Athena Smith, Sociology Instructor at the Brandon Campus, uses blogs and wikis successfully in her courses. Here, Athena shares two social sciences group projects that utilize the Blog and Wiki tools in Blackboard.

The word “wiki” means “fast” in Hawaiian and refers to a technology that allows participants to edit a page. The fact that students may edit each other’s work and have their own contributions edited encourages them to write with more attention to detail, accuracy, reason and proper documentation. Possible projects may evolve along the following lines:


First Step takes place on a blog:

There is an island in the Pacific with a few natives and plenty of natural resources. You have requested to move there for the next 30 years with a few people that you may choose to start a new society. There are 15 people on the applicants’ list. You may choose only 6. Explain your choices by posting comments on the blog. The 9 top choices will be shifted into the Wiki section, where you can add/edit justifications for eliminating three and keeping the 6 final choices.

  1. A lawyer who has become wealthy through malpractice lawsuits
  2. A politician who has fought for universal health care
  3. A politician who wants to increase defense spending
  4. A CEO of a financial institution
  5. An Honors graduate student who makes money by selling drugs
  6. A former prostitute who now lives off the income from a beauty shop she opened with her savings
  7. A former athlete who insists on carrying his gun
  8. A drug dealer who has had successful business around the globe having bribed scores of international politicians
  9. A 60 year old homeless lady
  10. A paraplegic 12-year old boy
  11. A young swimmer who won an Olympic medal
  12. A gay clergyman who served in poor areas helping the destitute
  13. A woman heart surgeon
  14. Last year’s Miss Universe
  15. Your father who left your mother when you were two and never paid child support
  16. Your 95 year old mother

In the Blog we can watch the students explain their choices. The discussion brings to surface preconceived notions, life goals, latent prejudices, thinking processes. The students may comment to each other’s choices, approving, disapproving, adding new details, debating. During this step, students are free to repost with new choices. Once the blog closes after one or two weeks, the professor picks the top 9 choices and moves the discussion in the Wiki section.

Second Step takes place in the Wiki

Here the students are in charge of the game. They are free to edit each other’s contributions in order to approve or disapprove of a choice. Eventually, we will observe certain choices being deleted, with the approval of the majority of the students. The students are asked to evaluate and interpret from a sociological angle the basis for the final choices.


First Step takes place on a blog:

Have the students read a provocative article (the one I used most recently was Dutch rethink Christianity for a doubtful world

The students are asked to write a letter to Rev Klaas Hendrikse. In the blog they start exchanging opinions about the ideas of Mr. Hendrikse. They comment to each other and debate. The blog closes after one or two weeks and the Wiki opens.

Second Step takes place in the Wiki

The professor is posting an outline of the letter that comprises the most prevalent points made by the students’ contributions on the blog. The students are asked to add/edit until they come up with a final version approved by the majority.

How do you use Blogs and Wikis in your class? Share in the comments area below.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Look What’s Happening in iStream This Month!

Focus on Community College Global Learning for Worldwide Markets

INNOVATOR SPOTLIGHT - A Virtual Event Showcasing National Award-Winning Innovations!
You are invited to attend the second annual Innovator Spotlight virtual event honoring the League’s outstanding innovations and the 2011 Innovation of the Year Award Winners. These innovations represent significant achievements at member colleges and the continuing renewal of the spirit of innovation and experimentation upon which the League was founded. In collaboration with Teaching Colleges and Community (T.C.C.) and Learning Times, join us February 15, 2012, for this exciting one-day online event for just $75 per person—with a maximum of only $400 for full college registration. Register today!

  • Project Highlight
    Anne Arundel Community College sparks international interest with the Global Giving Market.

  • Partner Spotlight
    Rio Salado College partners with Pearson to offer students textbook bargains.

  • Conference Presentations
    The 2011 STEMtech conference keynotes are posted and ready for viewing.

  • Publications - Leadership Abstracts
    Looking for a great read? Check out The Nature of Innovation in the Community College.

  • Innovative Educators
    Don’t miss Leadership Development for Students: How To Be An Effective Leader In A Changing World

  • NROC
    Catch the NROC member and iStream subscriber exclusive webinar for November: Individualized Learning: Using Data to Track Student Success.

  • 10 Questions
    Andy Meyer, Vice President for Learning at Anne Arundel Community College, shares the development and success of AACC’s Global Giving Market.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Congratulations to HCC's NISOD Award Nominees

Congratulations to HCC's 2012 NISOD Award nominees:
  • Richard Gaspar
  • Robert King
  • Susan Miletta
  • James Wysong, Jr.

Vote for the winner:

Voting will close November 9, 2011, so don't delay!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Present at the Southeast Regional Conference

Southeast Regional Conference
May 30 - June 1, 2012
Tampa, FL

Among all of the techniques, philosophies, and innovative ideas shared at last week's EDUCAUSE annual conference, two key concepts from the upcoming Southeast Regional Conference program were continuously reinforced:
  1. Higher education IT is never stagnant.
  2. Relationships are key to the success of any program.

The continuous evolution of technologies and relationships are critical to forward progress in our community. Partnering with you, our peers in the southeast, we will build a program for the Southeast Regional Conference based on effective strategies and techniques that engage across campus, with local communities, and within and beyond disciplinary and global boundaries.

Play an active part in this important higher education IT conference — submit a presentation proposal.

Your thoughts and expertise will challenge us to move beyond the boundaries of our technical proficiencies and develop the skills and processes necessary to build and sustain stronger organizations that can ultimately achieve the critical organizational mission and goals of the academy.