Being able to collaborate and share information via the world wide web has gone far beyond the use of email and web pages. Through the web, discussion boards and forums began evolving into a much more interactive platform that allowed far greater interaction. Social software tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasting, vodcasting, along with MySpace and Facebook allow individuals to share and disseminate information. Since the publication of this article, more social media platforms such as Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn have also added to the way learners can collaborate on projects and communicate with a greater audience. This creates a trail of interaction between the individuals, and allows the instructors the ability to assess the collaborative process and the product being developed. (p. 38)
Social constructivism is a dominant theory of learning can be described as learning as a social process which the context of learning is significant. The implementation of learning is done through the “community of practice” which is an environment in which a group of individuals participate in a shared activity of learners who become self-regulated and independent and is focused around a domain of knowledge. (p. 39) Brock cites an example from Monasch University of a Wiki project, Leapfrog Biology, which was designed for medical students who had not completed 12 Biology. The course was developed as 3 thematic modules: Cellular basis of life; Human genetics; and Disease and immunity.
There were individual and group work activities that were incorporated in the course. Individual work included interactive media elements, quizzes and summary submissions. Group activities included a debate and group project. Nobel Factor, the group project, was a competition between students. Students were to design and develop a Wiki exploring Nobel Prize winning discoveries in medical research related to the subject of each of the modules. They were able to upload images and attachments. Students had to vote for the best wiki, which ended up being published so all first year medical students could use it as a resource.
Though I have not had the opportunity to participate in a Wiki, I have worked in similar-styled projects. In a design course I took in a traditional classroom setting, the instructor created a blog page, which was only open to those of us in the course. We posted our design projects in the weekly blog, shared sites and design ideas of interest, and had to write reviews of historical designs, as well as comment on each other’s design work. In addition to my own research and writing, I was able to learn about other designers (there was a class of 24 of us). In looking at other’s work, it sparked creativity ideas on either new techniques or styles to try. The site was still available for a time after the course was complete for us to go back and reference.
Brack, C. Collaborative E-Learning Using Wikis: A Case Report. E-Learning Technologies and Evidence-Based Assessment Approaches. Information Science Reference.(37 – 54)