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Copied from a presentation at a CINCH workgroup meeting on 25th February 2010 given by Jon Petter Omtvedt

Slide 1: E-learning - what is it?

  • Publishing compendia and exercises on web-pages (WEB 1.0) is not e-learning. It’s simply an effective tool to help do things the old way.
  • E-learning is using computer tools to encourage the student to actively participate in the learning process, e.g. by discussion forums, blogs, simulations, etc. (WEB 2.0).
  • E-learning is also packages which present a certain topic (text, graphs, video, animation), with e.g. self-check questions and exercises to help the student to verify that the subject is understood.
  • New ways of distribution information, like podcasts, are sometimes also regarded as e-learning – but is it really?

Slide 2: Wikis

  • A database in which all sorts of teaching aids can be included in a systematic way.
  • Active student participation can be implemented, e.g. by including reports and results from student projects.
  • Two way communication with students (WEB 2.0) can be included – if wanted. I.e. can be used as a tool to create E-learning.

Slide 3: The Ultimate Text Book?

  • For most courses it is difficult to find the “ideal course book”.
  • Based on a wiki database, a virtual course book can be created which only contains what is needed/wanted.
  • If something is not found in the database the teacher can add it (as traditionally done by writing a compendium to cover what is not in the course book).
    • To the student it will look as an integrated part of the (wiki) course book.
    • Teachers in other courses, universities or whatever will immediately benefit from the newly added material and can include it in their own courses.

Slide 4: The Ultimate Text Book? (II)

  • Unlike a printed course book,
    • the wiki can be updated in “real time”.
    • can include discussion forums, blogs, video, laboratory exercises (suited to the available labs at a given institution), simulations and any form of e-learning tool available.
    • will serve as a highly integrated and structured learning platform (if set up right!).
    • It is free.
    • results from student work, previous and current, can be integrated.

Slide 5: Quality Control

The basic wiki principle is that anybody should be allowed to add material to the database.

To ensure that the learning material is correct and of good quality, some sort of quality control might be wanted. This can be implemented by differentiating between validated material and unchecked material.

Slide 6: Difficulty Level

  • Material can be graded according to its difficulty.
    • E.g.: Popular/introductory; Bachelor; Master; PhD; Expert.
  • Hyperlinks can be used to point readers particularly interested to material of higher complexity/detail.

Slide 7: Can it Work?

  • Only if many people use it.
  • CINCH has an unique opportunity to test out a wiki as an e-learning tool within a specific field. If successful our experience can be used in many other fields and sciences.

PS: In principle Wikipedia should not work, but it does!

Slide 8: Can it Work?

  • The technology is well known and freely available.
  • Will not exclude any particular tools or formats (everything can be linked).
  • Will not need to first be developed and then used, can be used from day one.
  • Will never be outdated (as long as it is actively used) – using it will keep it up to date.

Slide 9: Technical

  • University of Oslo can provide the servers and technical maintaince (backup, data security, user administration, etc.), if wanted.
  • Were little technical development is necessary by the CINCH project.
  • We can concentrate on the content, the software and servers is already up and running.