Case study:

What is

It’s a class on communication, arts, and sciences (100b is the course designation).

Screenshot of How’d you first hear about PBwiki?I took an English graduate class (I’m a grad student as well as an instructor) and decided to give it a try since I teach a group communications class. Several of my colleagues were using PBwiki and it seemed really easy.We love hearing that! So how do you use your PBwiki?Neither of us had ever used a wiki in a classroom, so we were feeling our way through it with our students. We have our own course management software through Penn State. So at the beginning, we were using the CMS (content-management system) and then having the class submit through the wiki. Finally, the students asked if they could do just one. So we turned everything to the wiki.

I really wanted a space where they could work together and see everyone’s else’s work. Our CMS is really good for individual work and student/instructor (we assign, they return) but it’s not really good for encouraging group work. The group file areas aren’t very good. One group can’t view another group’s work.

We were interested in the public and collaborative aspect of the wiki. It was a lot better than the other closed-off options we had. We want our students not only learn for themselves, but analyze other group’s work and learn from them. It would give them a different perspective from just their own groups.

We end up having a couple of groups in crisis, so other groups could see that weren’t functioning so well. I think this was very helpful.

Can you share some of the results you’ve found from using PBwiki?

The flexibility was so useful for me. Being able to just go in and change the lesson plans around, and make the chance instantly in the wiki, was really useful to me. Being able to keep up with the groups — I asked them to post their group notes so I could see who was keeping up and documenting their groups’ progress. I could step in and ask them to speed it up. I could technically have had them turn paper in, but most of them don’t use paper any more. The wiki was really useful for flexibility and keeping track of their progress in a different way.

Why’d you choose PBwiki?

Because it was easy. I’d gotten recommendations from a couple of friends, and almost without really meaning to, I had a wiki set up instantly. I’ve done a little bit of stuff on Wikipedia. Without having set up a wiki before, I was surprised how ridiculously easy it was.

How many people are active on your wiki?

143 students and 2 instructors.

Wow. What has been the biggest surprise for you in using PBwiki?

Surprised at how simple I found it. I also didn’t realize how many files my students would store (like Powerpoint files).

Would you tell others about PBwiki?

Yes, and I have. I tell them that if they ever want to start a wiki, PBwiki is a really good one to use.

One thought on “Case study:

  1. I discovered PBwiki a few months AFTER completing my Masters degree. I wish, I wish, I wish I could have used it during my studies. We had a number of group projects that would have been easier and better if we had used a wiki. I also believe a wiki would have been very helpful for my Thesis research. I am heartened to see this example of a wiki in use for a course.

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