Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wikis Enhancing Education

A number of educational institutions have opted to upgrade out-of-class interaction by leveraging wiki software to create easily accessed and edited wikis for teachers and students to interact. While web 2.0 solutions such as wikis and social media have been shunned by some government agencies and businesses, they have provided an easy option for teachers and professors to establish a web presence and reach students outside of the classroom.
The enterprise wiki is still a prominent way for executives and other managers to interact with their employees, but its optimum use may be in the classroom. For many educators, developing a highly functional website can be difficult since it requires web hosting and knowledge of design. Meanwhile, wikis can be implemented with minimal knowledge of web design and do not require as much maintenance as websites.
The Yale Daily News, the student newspaper at the Ivy League university in New Haven, Connecticut, recently reported the Yale School of Art's primary website is a wiki, which has allowed faculty and administrators to take a more proactive approach when interacting with their students and alumni. Students also have access to the website, which allows them to make announcements more quickly and to a larger audience.
"We wanted the website to be a transparent window onto the art school," Dan Michaelson, a lecturer and alumnus at the university, told the news provider. "There's no reason why the website shouldn't be a space that belongs to the students as much as the building."
Similarly, Bowling Green University in Ohio has a number of wikis currently operating throughout its network, according to BG Views. Among the items available for students and other members of the university are tutorials on various programs at the school, homework assignments, test dates and class and campus discussion forums. Also, some professors have made free textbooks available on wikis, which has helped students save money without falling behind on their schoolwork.
Like many other aspects of IT, such as agile development, wikis have made certain organizations and programs more interactive and accessible for those involved. Implementing them along with other Web 2.0 solutions, such as social media and blogs, is an easy way to ensure that an organizations is taking advantage of all the technology and options available to them.

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