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Thursday, February 08, 2007

I’d rather have a wiki than a Blackboard VLE.

If I had a hammer, er no wrong tape responsibility for delivering a distance learning MA or BA Programme I’d rather have a wiki than a blackboard VLE to administer the programme and to co-ordinate learning activities. For argument’s sake I am going to assume the use of the company wikispaces as my wiki space provider as I am familiar with their service. They will host for many different organisations and all are (can be) connected via wikispaces. (alternatives could include hosting your own in house wiki using ‘Mediawiki’)
  • Starting point for this reasoning is that a very low technical competence is by users is required to use a wiki. This is massively important for staff uptake and enthusiasm in engaging in the promotion of e-learning and to cater for the wide diversity of students that will participate on the programme.
  • Technically simple to setup and simple to access. As it is primarily text based web pages all users need is internet access and a dial up connection will be adequate in many cases.
  • Speed and Fluidity. If a student was enrolled on perhaps 8 Modules BANG, they could flick from one module to another just like THAT.
  • Quick Connections/ Communications. A Message box is available BANG just like THAT to pick up messages related to any other 8 Modules from all students and all tutors involved in the programme and to any external members of the whole wikispaces community. (This could include students and staff on partner programmes in other universities).
  • If any pages on a wiki are changed for example student announcements, then each students can be notified of a change immediately to their email BANG just like THAT. (probably be able to send a message to a mobile phone as well soon).
  • Due to the global nature of the wikispaces community many useful contacts with external friends and colleagues in the same field can be made and then easily continued after university life.
  • The way a wiki is setup and they way the page is structured it makes it very easy to back up all pages in HTML or in original wiki text, which also means a fair amount of future proofing can take place as the text will be saved in a format that is XML compliant and will therefore be easily re purposed in the future for perhaps delivering to mobile phones or PDA’s.
  • Being fluent in wiki skills will be a good life skill to have both for Staff and Students.

This is a pro wiki article. To Blackboard VLE and other VLE's I say TAKE THAT can you compete, ‘Respondez vous sil vous’ plait with counter arguments.

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