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Increase collaboration

Create a wiki

Sharing information within a group can be challenging. Often, group members wind up sending documents back and forth to each other in large, unwieldy email attachments. Derived from the Hawaiian word for "fast", a wiki is a type of website that allows multiple users to create and edit pages. The most popular and well-known example of a wiki is Wikipedia, an online collaborative encyclopedia that encourages anyone to participate by adding new content, creating pages, or editing text for accuracy. Although Wikipedia is an unrestricted, free-for-all environment, there are wikis available such as Wet Paint, University of Maryland's MediaWiki software, or Campus pack wiki in ELMS that allow the wiki administrator to retain control of access to the wiki and authoring privileges. Wikis are great for promoting collaborative writing among a group of students.


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Use Google Docs

Google Docs allows members of a group to share documents such as Word files, PowerPoint presentations, and Excel spreadsheets. Members can upload files or create documents directly in Google Docs. Everyone can edit documents in the shared Google Docs space, allowing the group to maintain one version or draft.


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Create a blog

A blog , short for "weblog", is a website that provides the ability for authors to publish individual entries that appear in a reverse chronological sequence, with the newest entries appearing before older ones.

Blogs are the digital equivalent of journals or diaries, but can be used by educators to encourage personal reflection and feedback among students. Many instructors create their own blogs, which can serve as a site to present supplemental material such as links, pictures, audio or video, communicate administrative details about the course or to summarize and expand upon ideas presented in lecture.

An instructor can also grant students access to post to their blog, thereby encouraging students to interact and share ideas with one another. Alternatively, instructors can furnish students with their own blogs, so that students may have a more personal space to reflect upon course material.


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Utilize ELMS's interactive features

ELMS, the University of Maryland's Enterprise Learning Management System, includes a variety of capabilities that encourage student collaboration. Discussion boards allow students and instructors to respond to each other in conversations known as "threads". Instructors can group students together using the Groups function to facilitate small group interaction. With Wimba Live Classroom, class can be held online real-time in an environment similar to a chatroom. Other interactive features of ELMS include blog software Journal LX and the Teams LX wiki software.

 

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Use Facebook

Chances are that most of your students are already using social-networking site Facebook to share information with their network of friends. As an instructor, you can tap into this resource by creating a group highlighting your course on Facebook that you can choose to moderate, inviting access to your group's discussion board, photos, messages, and updates. While students may be more likely to participate in an already familiar space, instructors may be concerned about issues of privacy concerning Facebook.

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