Random Thoughts on Instructional Design
The fine presenters from Penn State set out to study the uses of and engagement in wikis and blogs by instructors and students. The wiki, in Confluence, and the Blog, in Moveable Type, are the two enterprise tools for instructional use at Penn State. In looking at usage they found use scenarios varied by discipline.
Biology is using the wiki spaces essentially to develop an e-textbook for the course. As such, in this scenario the student is a consumer of the wiki and the faculty/teaching assistants are the producers of the content.
The IST Computing Science program is having the students use the wikis for Collaborative Student Research. As such, the student is the primary producer of content and the faculty/teaching assistants are the consumers of the content for grading and continued research.
In contrast, Psychology is using the wiki as an elearning platform in place of ANGEL.
Where Blogs are concerned, students are given the option to create Public or Private Blogs. The overwhelming number of student users choose to create Public blogs. Students see blogs as an opportunity to write with a purpose for a particular audience from whom they hope to receive comments. When blogs are being used for academic purposes, faculty involvement and modeling are extremely important to the success of the blog.
An interesting though not completely statistically supported finding was that Entry Dominant Users (those who wrote more blog posts than comments) saw greater GPS improvements than Commenters or Non-Bloggers. The three primary use scenarios for Blogs are that of Social Construction of Knowledge (student post), LMS Replacement (similar to the Wiki), and Document Commenting (instructors post and students comment).
In terms of who uses which tool. Tenure and Tenure Track Faculty are more prone to use Wikis. Instructors/Adjuncts are more likely to use Blogs. Where analytics is concerned, the presenters noted the importance of in-house hosting of the applications so the data can be accessed and analyzed.