Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Boards

"Wiki: A collaborative space where all students can view, contribute, & edit comments. Blog: A shared online diary used to interpret, showcase, & present information; can easily incorporate rich media. Journal: Personal writing space for self-reflection & private communication with the instructor. Discussion board: Online discussions that are organized hierarchically with forums, threads, & replies; students can express their ideas, gathering feedback & help with refining their opinions & plans."

 

A. "Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Boards" (post) introduce three "web-based platforms through which students can create and share content as well as interact with each other and the instructor."

See also

B. "Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Boards"

1. Authorship, Content, Organization 

"This chart describes who is responsible for creating and sharing the content, the type of content, and the default approach to content organization." 

Tool

Authorship

Content

Organization

Discussion Board Individual Posts responding to Collective Forum or Thread within a Forum Originating posts and replies range from a sentence to a couple paragraphs, sometimes with attached documents, can include embedded media(e.g. video, images) and external links. Participants can rank threads. Chronological order within threads; is searchable; offers sort, including by highest ranked; offers tagging.

Blog

 

Individual or Collective (e.g. group blog)

 

Pages contain text entries; can include embedded media (e.g. video, images) and external links. Can be made open to comments by visitors.

Reverse-chronological order of entries by author; is searchable, provides tagging and categories to support organization and search; can be comprised of multiple pages with defined navigation.

Wiki

 

Collective

 

Pages contain text entries; can include embedded media (e.g. video, images) and external links. Can be made open to comments by visitors.

A flat hierarchy of continually modifiable web page(s); is searchable, provides tagging; typically comprised of multiple pages; can include defined navigation.

2. Benefits of Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Boards

a. Each of these tools "can help students engage more actively with the material, with their classmates, and with you as the instructor" as they "provide opportunities for students to":

  • "Respond to course material as preparation for class"
  • "Start or continue discussion outside of class"
  • "Share relevant resources and other materials"
  • "Give and receive feedback on their ideas and work"
  • "Reflect on their experiences or work process"
  • "Create a record of their work throughout the semester or for a project"
  • "Participate in alternative ways (e.g., if the class size is large or a student is uncomfortable speaking in class) "

b. "They can also provide opportunities for instructors to":

  • "Identify areas of student interest or confusion"
  • "Monitor an individual’s process work or a group’s progress on a project"
  • "Give feedback on individual students’ ideas and work"
  • "Interact with students outside of the classroom and office hours"
  • "Post questions or feedback that benefit all students"

3. "How Do I Know If It's a Good Fit?"

"[C]onsider how well a blog, wiki, or discussion board fits your learning objectives, your students’ backgrounds, and your own teaching style."

"[A]sk yourself:

  • "Does the blog (or wiki or discussion board) create an opportunity that would otherwise be unavailable to students?"
  • "Will the blog (or wiki or discussion board) facilitate this opportunity efficiently and effectively?"
  • "Are you able to use the tool and, if needed, provide instruction and/or resources for students to learn the tool?"

4. Educational Uses and Examples

Tool

Typical use

Examples

Discussion Board

Students post and respond to questions about specific topics, readings, or assignments

Students generate discussion questions to address in class; students post questions about the day’s lecture for the instructor or other students to respond to

Blog

Students post and interact with each other about their individual or group work

Students write and comment on each other’s critiques of media reports that draw on course concepts; students write journal-style reflections on their service learning experiences and discuss these reflections in class

Wiki

Students collaborate in order to create and refine a larger body of content

Group members share resources and edit deliverables for a project; students compile an annotated bibliography for course-related sources

5. "How Do I Incorporate It Into My Teaching?"

"[C]learly communicate your expectations for how you and your students will use this tool."

"Specific aspects for which you should set expectations include":

  • "Permissions/sharing (e.g., Is it password-protected or available to the public? Will students share their posts with only you or with you and their classmates?)"
  • "Your role (e.g., Will you moderate student interaction and collaboration? How often will you read and comment on students’ work?)"
  • "Student-generated content (e.g., Are students contributing to a class or an individual blog? Are students assigned a specific section of a wiki? Can students pose their own questions on a discussion board?)"
  • "Student interaction and collaboration (e.g., How often should students interact or collaborate with each other? What are the ground rules for their interaction?)"
  • "Feedback and grading (e.g., How will you give feedback to students on what they post and how they interact? Will this work be graded?)"

C. Potential Uses of Wikis, Blogs, Journals, &/or Discussion Boards

See below the image for contained text.

1. Wiki

  • "Class summaries & outlines"
  • "Grant writing"
  • "Creative writing"
  • "Group research projects"
  • "Student-filled study guide for test: Instructor provides the outline & students collaboratively fill it in."
  • "Course glossary"
  • "Lab experiments"
  • "Resources repository: Ask students to post links to pictures, articles, and media files that relate to the less and explain why they were chose."

2. Blog

  • "'What we did/will do in class' saves instructor having to answer individual inquiries."
  • "Online discussions about related topics."
  • "Hand in evidence of class participation."
  • "'Muddiest Points' of what was covered in class."
  • "Interpret a case study."
  • "Analyze a topic, adding information over several weeks or the entire term."
  • "Deliver arguments and supporting evidence."

3. Journal

  • "Reflect on personal growth throughout semester."
  • "Record observations."
  • "Record things learned on field trip."
  • Express oneself."
  • "Document clinical experiences."
  • "Set goals."
  • "Question content."
  • "Identify areas for help."
  • "Submit prewriting for a graded assignment for guidance and feedback." 

4. Discussion Board

  • "With moderation turned on, it can be used to post a response to a question(s) and then discuss after everyone has had achance to post."
  • "Post ideas for projects and papers, and ask classmates to weigh in."
  • "Share initital thoughts abut a topic before it is discussed in-depth in individual blogs."
  • "Brainstorm ideas."
  • "Express informed opinions."

5. "Tools in Combination"

a. Discussion + Wikis

  • "On a discussion board, students post their ideas for a course wiki assignment."
  • "As students present their ideas and posts develop, they narrow the topic and divide the work before they transition to the wiki."
  • "In the course wiki, students provide text, images, and riche media to support the course content and they topic they chose int he discussion board."

b. Journals + Blogs

  • "Assign a graded blog requiring students to fully explore a topic, adding entries as the term progresses."
  • "[T]he topic planning begins in the journals tool where you offer guidance and support."
  • "Help students clarify the main points and ask for writing samples befoe they post their ideas for the entire class to read and comment on."

c. Discussion + Blogs

  • "Ask students to post an internet source on the discussion board that expands on the most recent lecture."
  • "Next, in their blogs, students can select a source and sythesize that information with the course material, extending their understanding beyond the classroom."
  • "Ask all students to provide comments for at least two classmates' entires thta include potential test questions."
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