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Welcome to Dr. Butler's Ed Tech Wiki.


TxDLA 2008 presentations:


Navigating the Right SIDE: New ID Model for Distance Education


Using Social Collaboration Tools to Engage and Retain DE Learners


This is the beginning point for all things wiki in my classes. To get to the tools you need for your class, please click on the appropriate link and it will take you to the correct location.


Most of your projects will be posted here.  This will enable others to view your projects as well as providing me a link so that I can access your projects and provide feedback.


At midnight of the due date, the page to submit your projects will be locked. If you have not submitted by midnight, you will need to post them on the Revised Page. This will also be the page that you will use to submit projects that you have revised and for which you want feedback.


More details will be discussed the first night of  class. If you have any questions, please write them down so you don't forget them. You may use Wimba to ask questions. Likely, if you have questions, so do your colleagues so asking them during Wimba will benefit all. 


You may access your course wiki through the links in the sidebar. Before you begin, please take the time to read the rationale for using wiki in my courses.


All things wiki


I am hoping that everyone has had an opportunity to either use a wiki or visit one to see what they are all about. For the purposes of this class, however, I will assume that you are new to wiki. Hopefully, in 5 years, wiki will be as ubiquitous as cell phones, but in the meantime, we have some work to do to get more people to use them.


Thus, let us start at the beginning. What is a wiki?  According to Ward Cunningham (n.d.), of Ward'sWiki, which has been in existence since 1995, "a wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly" (Retrieved January 5, 2008 from http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WardsWiki).


Wiki allows group communication and collaboration both synchronously and asynchronously as content can be edited and added to by anyone with access to the wiki. I believe that this is one of the areas that cause people angst, making them NOT like using a wiki.


Let's see if we can change thinking a bit about wiki. The primary purpose of a wiki is to collaborate. Globally. This means that you can have a team spread over the world - and still build a phenomenal product without ever needing to be together.


According to wiki.org, "Like many simple concepts, 'open editing' has some profound and subtle effects on Wiki usage. Allowing everyday users to create and edit any page in a Web site is exciting in that it encourages democratic use of the Web and promotes content composition by nontechnical users" (Retrieved December 3, 2007 from http://wiki.org/wiki.cgi?WhatIsWiki, ΒΆ 5).


A wiki is certainly different from a blog and serves different purposes. Whereas a blog allows one person to "make a statement" and others to respond to the blog through comments added in reverse chronological order after the statement, a wiki allows someone with the password to make comments and revisions directly onto the wiki. In that many people can make edits to a particular work, the wiki process can at times be messy, much like drilling down through a project in its many iterations until the final project is complete.


The fundamental theory behind wiki-ness is that two heads (or two hundred or two thousand heads) are better than one. If you have ever had to complete a project collaboratively - and you truly had a group that collaborated with you, then you have discovered how much better the project is with the help from other team members.  This philosophy permeates wiki.


So, if you want to collaborate - why not just send emails? One of the primary reasons is email "clogs." People get many emails each day and having to read and respond to emails would entail opening an attachment, hoping it was in the same format that your resident computer used, making the comments or corrections, saving it and sending it to all on the team. You hope they have not already made corrections and sent them off to you in the meantime and that everyone reads all the latest before they make revisions. With so many emails floating around, it can be quite difficult to discern which version is the latest version. 


Procedurally, for a large project with many participants, this can become a nightmare. So, the wiki is cross-platform and can easily be edited by anyone. It is easy to see the latest version of the project. Another great advantage is that you (or anyone) can go back and look at the history to see what prior versions looked like and you can easily see who made what changes. You can even go back to a prior version if you decide to eliminate many changes - with the touch of a button.


Common characteristics of wiki can be found here: http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiDesignPrinciples


If you are uncertain how a wiki works - or even what a wiki is, you may watch videos on PBWikis Educational Videos page.


Because wiki is virtually indestructible, we will be using it as a location to store all information for this course. There is a caveat here that will be discussed at the first Wimba meeting. 


Wiki allows us to share our content, comment on what others have contributed and continue to revise and improve even long after the course is over. It is also a wonderful repository for your movies that can be streamed through PBWiki. PBwiki is free to educators and, so named because it is as easy to make as a Peanut Butter (and jelly) sandwich.


I find that each semester, students in courses develop their own wiki "personalities." Feel free to add and build pages for your class and share information. This is our wiki - not my wiki and as such it will be much better for your contributions.


You will have multiple opportunities to use the wiki during the program and it is our hope that you see the possibilities for using it with your students and colleagues.

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