16 July 2007

Wikis for Course Evaluations

Hi Folks,
I have been looking at wikis, developing my opinion that they are likely very effective synchronous collaborative tools in distance education for students to add comments and build either (1) a negotiated syllabus, or (2) a course evaluation. Such course evaluation as I have alluded to earlier may be mid-course formative evaluation to inform the tutor and institution of matters arising, or end-of-course summative evaluation. It would seem prudent to keep these wiki projects separated for different courses. Accordingly I have set up three wikis as follows
The reasons underlying my decision to have three are that the host site 'wikispaces' is in the plural (if it were 'wikispace' then I would tend towards having only one), this host offers free hosting so any number are available and they are disposable, and students should generally not have access to evaluations by others about my courses if they are to remain on-topic and up-to-date ->-> my courses do change year on year ;-)
I might prefer to have only one wiki, for professional collaboration and free of distracting advertisements, and which would therefore be not free and with more editorial control. Therefore I set up another wiki at


This wiki has a valuable full-feature toolbar only when using the Mozilla Firefox browser. With Safari, most of the font styles and so on were not functioning. It also has an excellent html editor so my email address is now there given in hypertext. Here are two screen grabs - first of the editor and toolbar in Firefox, and second the resulting homepage

Both wikispaces and EditMe have WYSIWYG 'What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get' text input function, that may help visitors, while it is easy for me to look at the site mark-up language and learn the idiosyncratic codes. There is no standard mark-up language for wikis ; some use punctuation like ":;hello;:" and =others= or '"StrangerStyles"'. I will use the wikispaces A, B and C sites for my course evaluations by students next week. Thhe other is closed by invitation only, like an intranet website ; if you would like access - that is why my email address is there :-)
All Best Wishes

No comments: