Havering College of Further and Higher Education

Enhancing learning and teaching by using wikis and blogs

Practical application of ideas using technology – ideas I can research and use in my teaching.  Pam Clark, City Lit.

The reasons for using these technologies:

  • To improve students’ and staff experience;
  • Wide range of interests and a diverse mix of learners from high achievers through to more non-academic learners;
  • Wiki is an easy way to build a web page;
  • Document free so there are no files to move around;
  • Wikis are collaborative and accessible everywhere.

We have come to realise that collaboration is key.

View the presentation:

The college use wikis in three different ways:

  • Digital portfolios and progression appointment wiki. This allows tutors to  keep track of learners if they are off for interviews and keep an eye to see that their work is up to scratch.
  • Feedback wiki. Every student has  a feedback wiki that staff have access to and there is  no more need to have the student physically present.
  • Formal writing wiki that deals  with essay writing.
    History function is used to get learner in class to check each others’ work  to see mistakes before the final draft goes to the tutors.
    When tutors look at student’s work and give feedback they are aware of what each other is saying so they are not stepping on each others toes.

How was the learning enhanced?

  • Permissions are changed throughout the course -starts off privately but slowly opened up to the whole cohort to encourage collaboration and peer review.
  • History is also a very important feature as you can see progression
  • Some students really took to blogging.  Particularly successful with autistic learner who had difficulty with organizing their work
  • Mobile accessibility of blogs is great; for example when a student goes to an exhibition and is able to upload directly onto the blog.

Any tips?

  • Using wikis has helped us to respond quickly to students needs
  • You can see progression and collaboration is key
  • Great for tracking and gentle reminders
  • Only one copy of the document so stops student losing their work.

About the presenters:

Sue Withers, Curriculum Manager, Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

Sue Withers

Sue Withers studied Fine Art and Printmaking at MA level and holds several teaching qualifications. She has wide interests in Art & Design and has experience as an artist, designer, curator, businesswoman and organiser. Always keen to collaborate she founded Proof, an artist-run collective, in 1998.
Sue has been teaching for 14 years and takes pedagogy very seriously. She is currently Curriculum Manager for the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at Havering College, a post she has held for the past six years. A reflective practitioner, she is always on the look out for ways to enhance student experience and reduce administrative overheads. She believes that an educational environment should be both challenging and supportive, and that new technologies should be harnessed to make the world a better place.

Andrew Moller, Lecturer, Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

Andew MollerAndrew Moller trained as an electronic engineer and spent the first five years of his career as a hardware designer.
After developing an interest in photography he studied for an MA.
Since then he has worked as a professional photographer, an animator for broadcast television, and finally started teaching seriously five years ago.
Over a 30-odd year career he has written tens of thousands of lines of computer code but he would not call himself a programmer.
He likes to think that, on rare occasions, he can predict the near future.

On the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Havering College, Sue and Andrew make extensive use of software tools such as wikis, blogs, and digital portfolio web sites. They have found that they can enhance learning and foster independence in their students whilst simultaneously making life easier and more rewarding for staff:

Using collaborative software allows us to move towards a paperless, document-free environment where information can be accessed directly rather than collected and delivered via email or print out. For example, the current version of students’ formal writing tasks – such as essays, personal statements or project proposals – can be accessed at all times by all tutors. Students have fewer opportunities to conceal their problems, and feedback can be delivered efficiently and permanently recorded. The need for multiple cycles of collection, marking and redistribution of drafts is eliminated, and several tutors can take responsibility for providing guidance without countermanding one another.

Delegates capturing how blogs and wikis can be used by learners