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

12 Responses to “PBwiki – a great complement to Blackboard!”

  1. Laura October 13, 2007 at 4:10 pm #

    Dear Ann,
    I too have used pbwiki with my college courses, professional development presentations/workshops for teachers, and with K-6 students. It is by far the best thing since peanut butter.

    I also have access to blackboard–but find students and I do better with pbwiki…I use it in similar ways as you described…

    hooray for pbwiki!

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