Archive | October, 2007

Here's how to get the improved PBwiki Sidebar — free

28 Oct

[Update, 11/1/07]: Clarified this post.

Now everyone can use our improved Sidebar. This Sidebar lets you have three tabs:

  • QuickStart: A list of simple actions to help people get accustomed to using PBwiki.

  • Recent Activity: A list of recent changes on the wiki.
  • SideBar: The regular Sidebar page, which is fully-editable. Most people use this to create a simple navigation tab for the wiki.

Here’s how it looks.

The classic side bar looks like this:
pbwikiother2.png

The improved sidebar looks like this:
kamtriesagain-wiki.png

How to get the improved PBwiki Sidebar
Log into your wiki and click Settings —> Skins—> click “activate new sidebar.” (NOTE: This option will only appear for one month, so make your change now!)

How do I delete some of the tabs?
To delete any of the sidebar tabs, click “All Pages” and find the page(s) you want to delete (QuickStart, Recent Activities and SideBar). Click the red “+” next to the appropriate page and click Delete. Once you do this, that tab on your Sidebar will disappear. (NOTE: Once a page is gone, all content on it will disappear, so be careful.)

pbwikiexample-allpages.png

I don’t like the “improved” Sidebar and I want to back to the old one.
Unfortunately, there’s no going back, so please be sure you want to switch before you do it. A quick way to play around with the new Sidebar is to create a demo wiki from http://www.pbworks.com.

Help! I don’t have the option to turn on the new Sidebar in Settings >> Skin
We noticed a lot of questions below and dug into this. Chances are, you already have the new Sidebar. If this isn’t the case, please leave a comment with your wiki name so we can see what’s going on.

I want to force the Sidebar to appear instead of QuickStart
No problem. Check this out great solution by one of PBwiki community members.

PBwiki free premium accounts for victims of Southern California wildfires

24 Oct

This morning Leng Caloh, the Managing Online Editor for KPBS in Southern California, wrote us to let us know that they’re using PBwiki to coordinate reporting on the Southern California wildfires. “The wiki has been a godsend,â€? she said. “PBwiki has a great service and it’s helping us to serve the public!â€?

Because it’s such a chaotic situation, we’re offering two weeks of free Platinum wikis for anyone involved with the Southern California wildfires.

PBwiki will provide free public or private wikis to help recovery organizations:
* Provide real time updates to internal staff members
* Collaborate with disaster recovery team members
* Prioritize and coordinate with disaster relief team members on the ground
* Upload videos and photos
* List emergency contacts and their status

PBwiki will provide free public or private wikis to help family members:
* Communicate and update all friends and family from one central location
* Post critical support services contact information
* Network with other neighbors affected by the fire

PBwiki for emergency communications
Check out what one of our PBwiki users, David Stephenson of Stephenson Strategies, said: “Wikis are ideally suited to emergency communications because they allow anyone who knows any aspect of what is happening to contribute that information — and then others can correct it as conditions change.”

Hopefully we can help, even if it’s in a small way.

If you’re involved in the disaster-relief effort, or know someone who is, email fire-relief@pbworks.com with the name of your free wiki to be upgraded (on your honor).

Thanks,

-Ramit Sethi
PBwiki Co-founder

[Update]: Here’s one such wiki: The San Diego Fires wiki (via Paul Kedrosky)

Design Change – Tabbed Sidebars

23 Oct

Last week we made a simple but helpful change to the way you can access information on your sidebar. Our goal was 1) to introduce some quick steps new users can take to create a PBwiki and, 2) make it easier to access the information that is important to all wiki users – namely what pages have been recently edited and who were the latest visitors to the site.

The old side bar looked like this – a single sidebar where you can place links to your wiki pages, tips on using the wiki, and other helpful information.

pbwikiother.png

The single tab sidebar is wonderful for advanced users who know how to set up a wiki, add pages, upload files, etc. However our newer users have been a little confused about what they’re able to do on a wiki, and where they can find the tools that they’re looking for.

QuickStart Tab

Based on that feedback we’ve introduced a new QuickStart tab to familiarize new users with the simple steps you can take to create a Pbwiki. It gives quick links to edit your wiki, create a new page, upload pictures and share your wiki with others. We hope this will be a valuable tool for our new users as they learn to set up a PBwiki.

The QuickStart tab looks like this:

kristrialwiki.png

Once you’ve completed all four steps in the the quick start process you can easy close the tab permanently or leave it there as a quick way to create a new page, upload pictures and share your wiki with others. We think this will be an easy way to encourage new users to get started with their wiki, and act as a reference to intermediate users who need a quick refresher.

Recent Activity Tab
We’ve also introduced a Recent Activity tab to show you who has been to your wiki and what pages have been edited. This tab works in coordination with PBwiki notifications to show you exactly what has been changed on your wiki and when it was changed. The bottom section of the Recent Activity tab is built to show the last 10 visitors who have been on your site and allow you to easily contact them by clicking on their name.

develop-wiki.png

SideBar
The traditional SideBar tab has been moved to the far right hand side of the three tabbed sidebar. This is where you can create a navigational index of your PBWiki. Many of our users place links to their wiki pages, instructions on how to use a wiki and even a wiki wide calendar.

sidebar.png

I’m excited to see how new users respond to these simple changes in the sidebar design. I have the feeling that with the simple QuickStart guide more newbies will understand how to use their PBwiki and the Recent Activity tab will allow all users to clearly identify who is on their wiki and what pages have the most activity. Fun for everyone!

New feature – Create your own template

18 Oct

Hey everyone, I’m excited about this new feature – it’s one that I will use often and I hope you will too.

We’ve have created a quick and easy way for you to create your own templates. A template allows you to easily replicate wiki pages from the same design or style. They save time because each wiki editor does not have to create the document format on their own.

Here’s how to create your own template:

Create a new page
example-template-create-your-own-template.png

Copy and paste your original template into the wiki

template.png

Tag your wiki page with the word template (in lower case). The tag feature is at the bottom left of your wiki (click on the +)

tag2.png template-tag.png

You will see your new wiki template when you create a new page

template-is-available-now.png

Do you have a template that you’re excited to use or think will be useful to other users?

PBwiki hosts more pages than Wikipedia!

16 Oct

We’re surprised and thrilled to see how fast our PBwiki community is growing. Today, we’re announcing some news:

PBwiki hosts more pages than English Wikipedia

If your co-workers or friends have been wondering about using wikis, point them to this post for a roundup of articles on using PBwiki to make your life easier.
1. Video: See how we use PBwiki to power our own team
2. Create pages and upload files
3. Best practices for getting others to join your wiki
4. Add interactive plugins to your wiki
5. See other PBwiki examples

PBwiki – a great complement to Blackboard!

5 Oct

I received this awesome email from Ann Randall, Projects Coordinator at Boise State University, and I couldn’t wait to share it with the PBwiki educator community. Check out the super innovative ways that Ann enhanced her existing classroom tool – Blackboard – by using a PBwiki.

“Hi! I doubt this is unique, but I just have to share my experience with PBwiki this summer!

I work in the administrative Distance Education department at Boise State University, and this summer I was asked to teach the Educational Technology online graduate course, “Teaching Adults Online,” as an adjunct.

Classes at Boise State are hosted on Blackboard, but many classes, especially in our EdTech program, use social networking methods as well.

There are the great ways we’ve found to use PBwiki in addition to and sometimes even replacing Blackboard.

Personal Page
Each student created a personal page, to write their reflections on the reading assignments. They found it worked best to use their personal page as a table of contents, creating a separate page for each week’s reflection, and we kept links to each student’s main personal page in the sidebar. I created a blog as well and used it as a place to communicate with students after I noticed how frequently they visited my page.

In this case PBwiki was a substitute for Blackboard was with student reflections- the wiki replaced using blog or on the Blackboard discussion board forum. Responses that would have been posted as discussion threads in Backboard were instead posted as PBwiki “comments.” In addition, some of the comments I would have ordinarily inserted in discussion threads I entered instead in my own personal PBwiki page.

Group Assignments
We also used the wiki for sign-ups for small group assignments, for extra credit projects, and for group reports.

For this I used PBwiki instead of our Learning Management System (LMS), Blackboard. Instead of assigning students to groups in Blackboard, I allowed individuals to self-assign using PBwiki.

Turn in homework
The third way PBwiki replaced our Blackboard was in posting assignments. Assignments such as the LMS reviews, the synchronous chat tool reviews, the reflective comments on assigned readings, and even the final project were posted to PBwiki instead of being sent to me or posted to Blackboard

Publicize class work
We kept the wiki private until the end of class. Then the final project was to collaborate to pull together the various insights and projects into a cohesive “public ready” site:.

Lessons learned
I think the class did a fantastic job with the site. I will be teaching the class again next summer, here are some thoughts on what I learned.

• In the future I will have each student create a PBwiki sign-on so I can be sure I always know who is making contributions. I will send out individual invitations then with contributor privileges, instead of giving them all administrator privileges–something the class saw as a drawback to using wikis for their own classes.

• One note is important here. I chose wikis as our Web 2.0 tool because they are more collaborative than blogs, and I thought they would be more
effective in creating a sense of community. There was some initial resistance to “blogging” on the wiki, but when I explained that I only wanted to introduce one new tool and wikis are more flexible than blogs, that died down. By the end of class, everyone seemed quite enthusiastic about the wiki, and I think they were all pleased with their final public product.”

Check out Ann’s PBwiki here: http://teachingadultsonline.pbworks.com/

Ann Randall, Faculty Support and Projects Coordinator
Distance Education, Extended Studies
Boise State University

Tighter access control – My.PBwiki.com

3 Oct

We’re excited to announce the launch of our latest security feature, My.PBwiki.com, a fast way to log into your multiple PBwikis with one personal password and easily control access on your wiki.

As a wiki Administrator the new My.PBwiki.com gives you unprecedented control over who is active on your wiki and what they are allowed to do. Here’s how:

• Individual sign on names and passwords ensure that only those select people who you chose to access your wiki site.
• My.PBwiki.com makes it easy to manage what contributors are allowed to see and edit.
• By ensuring that everyone has a My.PBwiki.com profile you will never see another anonymous edit ever again.

My.Pbwiki.com makes it simple for all PBwiki users to quickly log into all their PBwiki accounts with just one password. Simply create a user name and password, then add your many Pbwiki accounts.

Check out this video we made to explain how to create a My.PBwiki.com profile and the huge benefits it can bring to both wiki administrators and editors.

Head to My.PBwiki.com to create your own personalized log in and eliminate unwanted anonymous edits!

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