Most faculty have a fairly good idea of the differences between a Blog, Wiki and Discussion Forum, but which one will help you and your students collaborate and communicate effectively?
The chart below can be used as a guide to point you towards one tool over the others. I have used Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Forums for unusual and out of the box purposes, so don’t consider this chart set in stone. In the example, Blogs are listed as a place to present opinions but Blogs can and should be used to present facts as well.
|Think “Journals”||Think “Encyclopedia”||Think “Debate”|
|Presents opinions||Presents facts||Presents facts and opinions|
|Spotlight is on one student as they deeply reflect on a topic.||Collaborative pieces that do not belong to any one person.||Open area where everyone has an equal opportunity to be heard.|
Other students can read entries and leave comments for the blogger, but deep conversation does not necessarily occur.
Use of the comments feature is strongly discouraged, and should only be used by the instructor when they need to intervene.
Students are encouraged to respond to one another to form conversations and develop meaningful dialogue. Students do not necessarily need to agree.
Use Case Ideas
Students document a field experience or internship
Students reflect on readings or current events
Students use the area for creative writing, brainstorming, or short compositions
Use Case Ideas
Class develops an on-going list of terms and definitions
Group researches and begins to draft and organize ideas or topics
Class compiles on-going list of resources, such as websites relating to a specific topic, and writes reviews and descriptions
Use Case Ideas
Students choose a side and debate on a topic
Groups discuss how to work on a project
Class engages in a conversation based on a topic, provides support and citation, or answers questions from their peers
Sakai includes very basic Blog and Wiki tools which were developed by other institutions and contributed to the Sakai open source community. The Sakai Discussion Forum has more advanced features than a free discussion forum you may find on the web. If you find that you have outgrown the Blog and Wiki tools in Sakai, or they simply do not meet your needs and goals, consider the following options.
Google’s Blogger.com can be used with Wake Forest usernames and passwords. To learn more about how you can use Blogger at WFU click here.
Wikispaces.com is an easy to use Wiki that allows the instructor to create a roster of student email addresses and passwords. (No Google account integration.) Accounts can be created by going to your Class Wiki, choosing Settings, and then User Creator.
Available as an eBook and full of assignment ideas:
Conrad, Rita-Marie; Donaldson, J. Ana (2011). Engaging the Online Learner : Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction. (eBook from ZSR Library)