UoL Library Blog

Develop, debate, innovate.

Alternatives to using a wiki to teach?

Posted by selinalock on 29 October, 2009

I’m looking for some advice or suggestions on alternatives to using a wiki during a session.

Last year I blogged about my experience using a wetpaint wiki with 1st year computer scientists which overall went well as the students liked the option to interact online, rather than interact verbally in the classroom. We found last year and so far with the group this year that they are far happier doing things in front of a computer!

Anyway, there are up to 70 students and I would like them to comment on issues such as the pros and concs of wikipedia during the session. The wetpaint wiki would not allow several people to edit at once so most of the students entries were lost or overwritten last year.

If anyone can recommend an alternative solution?

– wiki software that will let multiple people edit?

– chat room software that can deal with a big group?

– discussion forum software?

– would a blog allow lots of people to comment at once? Or would it fall over?

I only really need the software during the session, as I’m not expecting them to add to it afterwards, so it needs to be free and easy to use/register for. I would have used a Blackboard discussion board but this module isn’t using Blackboard!

5 Responses to “Alternatives to using a wiki to teach?”

  1. ajcann said

    Twitter, via a hashtag?
    Next year, use Google Wave😉

  2. stujohnson said

    Just thought – you could use digress.it maybe? But probably a bit late and you’ve probably thought of something better by now anyway

  3. selinalock said

    Somone recommended http://www.etherpad.com which allows simultaneous document editing. It doesn’t say how many can edit at once, but there are comments from people who have used it in classrooms. So I think I’m going to try creating 7 documents for 7 groups of up to ten people.

    We’ll see how it goes this afternoon! Will report back on the blog next week.

  4. Fred said

    Another one is A.nnotate – you can upload a document (or image or snapshot of a webpage) and several people can annotate it. We tried it with music students annotating PDF scores online as a group exercise, they seemed to like the discussion aspects.

    The interaction model is a bit different from shared editing as you get with a wiki, etherpad or google docs (or wave) as you don’t edit the underlying document, just attach comments and replies to highlighted text or parts of an image.

  5. rabblevox said

    Ning is very stable, and user friendly. Not sure how it handles simultaneous comments, though.
    http://www.ning.com

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