Course Page WikiMarch 21, 2006 at 1:47 am | Posted in history, libraries | 2 Comments
I’m trying an experiment with one of the courses for which I’ve done instruction this semester. The course is a required intro. to historical research for undergrad majors in history, with this particular section focusing on the Haitian Revolution. The professor has emphasized to the students that collaboration is an integral part of being an historian and so she wants to encourage them to help each other as they do their papers: if someone finds a document/resource that might be useful to others, then he or she needs to share. Hearing this, I immediately thought of a wiki: the students, the professor, and I could all collaborate online and participate in the traditional mode of research for historians (word of mouth).
I wasn’t sure if there were sites offering free wiki hosting (in the manner of Blogger or WordPress), but sure enough, a search of Meredith Farkas’s website yielded the suggestion of pbwiki. There are ads, unfortunately, but the whole thing was easy to put together. Here is what I’ve come up with: http://gsuhist3000.pbwiki.com.
I created four pages: a place where students can list their project, a page for recommending primary sources, a page for recommending secondary sources, and a page for questions/concerns/comments. I seeded the whole thing (except for the student project list) with a few suggestions and then presented it to the class during our second instruction session. The students in the class seemed interested in the concept, but almost a week later and I’m still the only one to have done anything with it. I think if the prof. decides to make using the wiki mandatory (or at least give some kind of credit to those who do so), then it may work. We’ll see.
UPDATE (3/23): A few students are using it as is the prof., so it seems to be working out pretty well!