Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why Wiki?

Why Wiki?

A community is like a ship: everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.

—Henrik Ibsen

I have created my Wiki and it was a fun and easy process. I can see fantastic applications for using this tool with secondary students.

Wenger (2000) states that ‘Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.’

This is exactly what we are doing in this course. We are each learning as we progress, through our passion for the subject and through each other. In our case, our intention is to learn, but Wegner also states that learning can be an ‘incidental outcome’.

Perhaps in a school setting, learning might be the ‘incidental outcome’!

Bruns and Humphreys (2005) point out that many of the benefits to students in collaborating and interacting during the creation of Wiki topics are derived from encountering other students’ viewpoints. These interactions are vital in providing experiences, views and stories which are different from their own. Students have the opportunity to experience interaction throughout the group.

This practice is very much in accordance with Vygotsky’s social constructivism theory which emphasises the collaborative nature of learning.

Students would hopefully be encouraged to participate in a professional and ethical manner, as the Wiki is available for all to access.




Bruns, A. & Humphreys, S. Wikis in Teaching & Assessment: The M/Cyclopedia Project

Retrieved July 25th 2009 from http://snurb.info/files/Wikis%20in%20Teaching%20And%20Assessment.pdf

Wenger, E. (2000) Communities of Practice, a brief introduction. Retrieved July 24, 2009 from


Blogging fun!

What a wonderful and useful tool the Blog is! I wonder how long it would have taken me to discover it, had I not enrolled in managing e-learning.
I found the Blogger website to be fun and easy.
A blog provides a forum for communication which teachers can utilise with students for sharing ideas, enriching writing skills and reflecting on classroom tasks. The availability and user friendliness of blogging software means that creating a blog as a classroom activity is extremely simple and fun. It really is an activity that everyone can become involved in, even students who are not ‘into’ computers. There are blogs out in cyberspace to suit any interest. Students can also have fun personalising their blogs, which might be a way of ‘hooking’ them into learning.
An activity such as the one we are engaged in right now in Managing e- learning would be an excellent way of working collaboratively with others in the class or in groups. Receiving and giving peer feedback, in a professional manner would be an interesting exercise for secondary students.
A blog could also be fully utilised by learning managers to post resources or homework / assignment tasks for students.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Engagement Theory - A real life example.

Whilst pondering the concepts surrounding learning engagement, I realised I had just participated in a real life example.

In Term 1, myself and three others were required to work collaboratively on a task for our assessment in Principles of University Learning. The purpose of this task was to develop communication, presentation and teamwork skills. We were required to formulate a critical question of our own choosing and research the topic so that the information included in the presentation broadened the learning of the whole class. The question we decided upon was “What are the impacts of cultural diversity on working in groups at university?”

According to Kearsley & Shneiderman (1999), Engagement Theory emphasises collaboration among peers and a community of learners, and this is exactly how our group worked, with strong collaboration. As we were all adult learners, the focus of our learning was largely experiential and self directed. We created a question, brainstormed and problem solved, made decisions and re made them, used reasoning and evaluated the process; all aspects of engaged learning.

We were able to apply the Relate-Create-Donate principle as follows:-

Relate- The team communicated regularly and clearly, we planned well ahead of time and ensured that each member understood their task. Research tasks were allocated according to individual skill and area of interest. We encountered problems along the way, different personality traits which affected the efficiency of the group, but worked through them to facilitate a solution. We were also very motivated and aware of our obligations to each other.

Create- The team were focused on the task and interested in the subject. We were keen to learn about the topic and what the impacts of cultural diversity on group work at university might be. We had a purpose and we each knew what that purpose was.

Donate-This was the most exciting part of the collaboration as the team was keen to share their insights about the topic with the rest of the class. We ‘donated’ some knowledge around cultural group work to our own peer group.

The most useful and important collaborative tool for the team was email, as it was our only form of communication. We also used the internet for most of our information sourcing.

As adult learners we probably already had the skills required to participate effectively in collaborative learning, simply through life experience. Students don’t have these skills so approach the tasks very differently.


Kearsley, G & Shneiderman, B 1999, Learning Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning.

Monday, July 6, 2009

First posting, first week of term 2.
Im really looking forward to this course, it is already very interesting and Im learning new things.
Wish I could figure out how to put a pic up on my blog though!