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What is a wiki?

A wiki ( /ˈwɪki/ WIK-ee) is a website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor.

You are now looking at UC Space, the University of Canberra's very own wiki system. A major advantage of UC Space is that all students have secure access to it via their network logins, and you can restrict who can and can't visit or edit your site. This protects students' privacy while providing a realistic Web 2.0 experience.

Why use Web 2.0 tools?

Today's workshop activities have been trialled with a group of about 78 international students at the University of Canberra College. The primary reason for adopting Web 2.0 technologies was to overcome the challenge of developing sound written communication skills in students who use English as a second language. These students rarely practised written English in the classroom environment and found it difficult to learn new concepts and ideas from people like me who have a broad Australian accent and tend to talk too fast in the classroom.

The results from using this particular exercise have far surpassed what I hoped to achieve. I have managed to use this assessment item to great effect. However, the experience so far has been resticted

Today's activity

Today's activity works surprisingly well. I am hoping that none of the participants are too familiar with a methodology which I have adopted as my main approach to understanding communications policy from a political science perspective: historical institutionalism. This is what you will do:

  1. Working around one computer, form into groups of two. The instructor will give your group a unique number.
  2. Using the menu on the left, click on "Browse Space", then "Pages". You will be presented with a list of pages shown in order of most "Recently Updated". In the centre of your screen, select "Alphabetical" to see a more user-friendly list of pages. Click on the page "Group X" where X corresponds to your group's number.
  3. Your group's page presents a number of questions. Below each question you will see this: [Enter text here]. This is where you will answer each of the questions on yoru group's page.
  4. You are required to answer each question with a minimum of 80 words. However, you can copy and paste these words from the Internet without referencing. This is a learning activity and not an assessment item, so go ahead. Just make sure that if you copy text from a Microsoft document, you copy the text into Notepad and then copy and paste into UC Space so that the Microsoft code does nto mess up your UC SPace page. If this happens, just let the instructor know.
  5. Make sure that the text you have copied is formed into coherent sentences. When you are done, let the instructor know.
  6. At the instructions direction, your next task is to comment on the responses from at least two other groups, using the "Add comments" fucntion at the bottom of their group page. Your comments should indicate whether you agree or disagree with the other groups' answers.
  7. At the end of the session, the instructor will conduct a classroom quiz to see how much people now know about "historical institutionalism". Hopefully, you will be surprised by the results!
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