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Blogs and Wikis in Teaching at QUT

I spent most of the day today at QUT's Carseldine campus, with the team of a large teaching and learning project involving staff from Creative Industries and Humanities & Human Services. As part of the project we're exploring the use of blogs and wikis in teaching, and we've now set up the first testbed systems to do so (not for public viewing yet, sorry...). I mentioned some of this work in my interview with Trebor Scholz recently. If anyone's interested, we're using Drupal and MediaWiki as the base technologies.

What's been very good to see about the project work so far is how much my colleagues have taken to these technologies. Today alone we've come up with some promising ideas of using wikis for the collaborative editing of stories by journalism students, as well as for language teaching (and of course the many languages of the Wikipedia are very impressive in this context as well...).

The trick in this project is to use these and other online teaching technologies not because they're available, but because they enhance learning and teaching. And we're also trying to deploy these tools in a learner-centred (rather than teacher-centred) mode - so, for example, my aim is to avoid getting students to blog only for specific tasks or units, and rather to give every student a blog to use freely throughout the course of their degree at QUT. Where they're posting blog entries that are relevant to a specific unit or learning experience, then, they'd be able to flag these posts in a set of pre-defined taxonomies (and maybe also some on-the-fly folksonomies) - and all students' posts which pertain to a specific unit could then be aggregated and displayed (using RSS, of course) on the unit homepage. Drupal provides a good basis for this as it's got a nicely implemented taxonomy system already, and supports multiuser setups very well.

The project will run throughout 2005 and 2006 - I'll post some more updates as our plans take shape...


OK, I accidentally deleted a comment pointing to a very similar blog / wiki setup at the University of Calgary. Must check it out in more detail...