Faculty Story: UBC Wiki for Collaboration

Judy Chan

How did you use a Wiki in your course and what made you decide to do this?

Judy Chan started using the UBC Wiki to deliver course content. Chan teaches FNH 200: Exploring Our Foods, a multi-section course that is both online and face-to-face. FNH 200 is also taught by multiple instructors across the continent.

I started using UBC Wiki as a way for instructors to collaborate on course content and students to share their term projects.

Early in her use of the UBC Wiki, Chan asked students to create potential exam questions and post them along with their term projects.
Her hope was to encourage students to read works created by their peers – as she likes students to learn from each other. In subsequent years, she pointed students to projects created in the past. This gave students a good sense of what was expected and the quality of work created by their fellow students.

What has been the result?

Because the course content is ‘open’, it has been very easy for me to share content of my introductory course with instructors who teach in 300- and 400-level courses. They get to know the depth and breadth of how a particular topic in food science has been explored earlier in students studies and may allow instructors to adjust their delivery.

Students love reading what students in previous years wrote on various food topics.

In addition to the grading rubrics provided, they are able to see real projects created by fellow students. They are no long working in the dark; they know exactly what is expected. The fact the students will be writing and sharing their projects ‘openly’ has led to added pressure to write well. Overall the quality of students’ writing has improved.

What are some challenges and successes in using the Wiki in your practice?

Some challenges Judy, her colleagues, and students face are learning the Wiki ‘markup language’. After all, it is new and different. But she gave her students ample warning and practice time and offered one-on-one support on Wiki editing.

In terms of successes, Judy wishes she had a way to measure the long-term success or impact on students. Anecdotally, she has bumped in to past students in their 3rd and 4th years, and they have told her how useful it was to gain access to course content in an open environment. The open course site gave students easy access to review foundation knowledge being re-explored in their senior-level courses.

What is your advice for new users of the UBC Wiki?

Judy suggests seeking professional advice on how to integrate a wiki into your teaching and learning environment. Judy worked with a variety of people in the LT Hub and acquired some tips on how to structure wiki pages that make future re-mixing and re-using easier. She says that a Wiki expert can give you good ideas, before you spend too much time going down a less-than-ideal path.

Faculty and staff looking for Wiki support, please visit us in the Learning Technology Hub.

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