Mark Bernstein’s 2nd Wiki Challenge is up.
I’ve been slowly nudging our history faculty to use wiki technology to replace their text books. We’ll be adding Wiki software to a mint condition server soon so that they have the opportunity. Faculty complain about the expense and redundancy of text books (this is only going to get worse). They complain about text-book restrictiveness and the hassle of editions. The possibilities are exciting. New ideas can be added without having to print out an article from a journal. Additions can be automated and directly linked-to. Links can be unambiguous and navigation interesting. Faculty will control the content and provide weaving opportunities for their students. Course materials and assessments would be a huge part of the mix.
But hold on. There are major problems to overcome:
1. Work load
2. The whole as a describable figure of speech
4. Learning curve
6. Pushy book reps
7. Dev and staging server
9. Access and authorship
I myself have a difficult time writing links in wikis which is why I’m noncommittal at the moment. If I write metaphor into a page, it’s pretty simple to come up with a few examples, such as “It rides upon the wrinkled hide / of water” from David Solway’s poem Windsurfing. But is this necessarily a call for a link or an intext blockquote?
Ny entire Neuroscience course was run off of Blackboard–no textbook, no printed materials at all. She used select chapters from a previous textbook, supplemented with Scientific American and other articles as they appeared. It was a huge plus in the classroom, because as breaking news occurred we reviewed it in class via the Bboard or internet connection in the room. Don’t know how much work was involved on her end getting all those pages turned into .pdfs, but as a student it was tremendously accessible, a great help not having to lug around books, and I could study wherever there was a computer. I’d be happy to put you in touch with some guys in the IT department at Trincoll who I’m sure could razzle you with details.