Faculty Story: UBC Wiki for Land and Food Systems

Read about a UBC example of using UBC Wiki, featuring Dr. Judy Chan, Faculty Associate, Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Judy uses UBC Wiki for instructors and students to collaborate together.

UBC Wiki Example for Land and Food Systems

Judy ChanHow did you use UBC Wiki in your course and what made you decide to do this?

Judy Chan started using the UBC Wiki to deliver course content. Judy 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, Judy 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. The past projects 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 Judy to share content of her introductory course with instructors who teach in 300- and 400-level courses. The other instructors get to know the depth and breadth of how a particular topic in food science has been explored earlier by students, which 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, students 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, Judy feels 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 UBC Wiki ‘markup language’. After all, it is new and different. But she gives her students ample warning and practice time and offers one-on-one support on UBC 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 third and fourth 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 UBC 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 the pages that make future re-mixing and re-using easier. She says that a UBC 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 UBC Wiki support, please contact us at the LT Hub.

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