Edu Case Study — PBwiki at Bentley College

Mark Frydenberg, Bentley College
PBwiki and Camtasia – Changing the Way I Teach

College students today live in a world filled with social media and interactive technology. In my Technology Intensive IT 101 class at Bentley College, the question for me isn’t how do I teach students about new technologies– but rather, how do I teach with them?

Two software tools that have had the greatest impact on the way that I teach this course these days are PBWiki and Camtasia Studio. Both invite students to become involved in the process of creating course content, and sharing their knowledge with their classmates.

So how has PBWiki changed the way that I teach?

Syllabus accurately reflects class pace
The PDF file of the course schedule that I posted on BlackBoard before the first class was always “off-schedule� by the third. On a wiki, the course schedule becomes a living document that I can easily update if we end up spending more or less time than anticipated on a topic. In addition, a 30Boxes calendar posted on the front page of my PBWiki tracks homework due dates, exam dates, and other special happenings.

In addition to administrative uses, the power of the wiki as a course management tool comes when students add information to it. They post links to Internet sites and sightings; they share links to their web pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts. They use the wiki to sign up for group projects and collaborate with their partners.

Shared Class Notes
This semester I started using the class wiki for a collaborative note taking project. Two or three students are assigned to post their notes for a particular class session on a wiki page. Their classmates review the notes, adding in anything they learned that the two starting authors may have omitted. Together, the students are writing the text that reflects what they actually learned (not what I taught!) in each class session. If I feel that something important is missing from the notes, either I’ll go back and add it, or more likely, we’ll talk about it in the next class, and undoubtedly a student will have made the appropriate updates.

Students as active participants
Recently I reviewed Camtasia Studio 5, and created a screencast about how I use PBwiki for my class wiki. Watching screencasts that demonstrate procedural tasks (such as talking students through the process of setting up an FTP account, or adding an image or button to a web site) has been an effective way for students to master those tasks. Many say that when they are first learning, it is easier to follow a screencast than read a set of printed instructions. The number of students asking “Can you show me again how you did that?� has been greatly reduced.

Incorporating Camtasia and PBWiki into my classroom has allowed students to become teachers outside the classroom, as they are active participants not only in their own learning, but also in that of the entire class.

Want a guided tour of my wiki? Watch this Camtasia screencast.

12 thoughts on “Edu Case Study — PBwiki at Bentley College

  1. This is an great example of how technologies can change the way of teaching in the classrooms plus students can learnin a fun and interesting way rather then the old method which is consider boring in today standards.

    We hope to be able to implement your ways of teaching in our insititue at in the near future.

  2. I’m creating my own pbwiki at the moment and I was wondering what was the Map you used because it looks really handy.

  3. Camtasia Studio can run slower rigs as well, provided you take certain steps…

    1. If on XP, disable hardware acceleration.
    2. Don’t record the whole screen. An 800×600 area is perfectly adequate.
    3. Close unrelated programs and shut down unneeded services.

    cheers, Daniel

  4. Man, I wish that we had these kind of technologies available to us when I was in school! It certainly would have made things a heck of a lot more interesting and interactive. Congratulations on getting the best out of what technology can do for you – this kind of learning excites me and makes me want to be a teacher myself! I think that this is definitely going to be forwarded to friends that I have that are teachers for their serious consideration – it sounds to me like it brings fantastic results.

  5. You’re lucky to have those technologies. Imagine living in our place where 5 to 10 students share one computer. I hope students who get to enjoy these technology would make the most out of it.

  6. This is an great example of how technologies can change the way of teaching in the classrooms plus students can learnin a fun and interesting way rather then the old method which is consider boring in today standards.

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