IBLC11-Abstract-Starting & Sharing: Wiki Glossaries in the curriculum

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Nannayi Dakat
16 May 2011

Author: Mr Ollie Jones


Often students find that the terminology involved in a new subject can be a barrier to learning, Some theorists term this 'cognitive load' - a high amount of information that the brain has to process before it can begin to construct new knowledge. Glossaries have been used in many different educational contexts, however traditional glossaries are passive and have less capability to promote student engagement.

This paper outlines four separate pilot studies in a UK business school that used small wikis situated within the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to encourage students to construct their own glossary at the start of a module. Whilst many studies have looked at use of wikis in student work , especially collaborative projects, relatively few have investigated the use of wikis for constructing simple glossary entries,

In all of the studies each set of students were allocated a particular subject related term. The students were instructed to construct a wiki entry describing what the term meant, citing at least two appropriate references. The pilots varied in that for pilot one the task was given a small assessment credit, for pilot two, the wiki entry was a module requirement, and for the third pilot completion was required in order to gain access to additional resources.

The pilots were evaluated by a variety methods including quantitative analysis of the VLE usage and access statistics, alongside qualitative and quantitative survey data, module evaluation comments and focus group discussions. Generally the quality of the entries was appropriate and students found the process of writing a wiki benefical to their learning. Students appeared to have read a number of entries over the course of the module and some chose to reference the wiki in their final written assignment.

Keywords: wiki, glossary, active learning, VLE,

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What i was interested in was taking some steps back, and helping students use the both VLE in a relatively simple , but interactive way, and at the same time seeing if this idea of a glossary ( in a sense a baby wikipedia) would help students get interested , involved in the subject, and and at a deeper level if Learning the 'language' of a subject helps improve or speed up learning..... Because many students are not used to interacting in vle's , as often they are mere e-cupboards, I thought this might be easier , for them and me, than getting into large collaborative work spaces straight away, and culturally everyone understands wikis in the sense of a knowledge bank. I half expected a cut and paste montage from wikipedia, but this appeared not to be the case, and students used their glossary after creation....but in the end would they prefer for tutors to create e glossary for them.......? Ollie

ollie jones
09:37 on 26 May 2011

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Marija Cubric
11:44am 13 June 2011

Hi Ollie, 

unfortunately I will be chairing another sessions during your talk - is is possible to provide a little bit more details on how was students' work assessed (you mention various statistics in the abstract)




ollie jones
11:30am 16 June 2011

Hi Marija, I can send you the slides, and I'm coming to your poker session also.

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