Inspired by EDUCAUSE's "7 Things You Should Know About" Learning Initiative, this resource aims to provide TLPD members with essential information on the UBC Wiki as a tool for resource development and curation.
What is it?
A wiki is a web page that can be viewed and modified directly from the web browser by anyone with access to internet. However, authoring and editing privileges of UBC Wikis are restricted to users with a valid UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL). UBC Wiki permits asynchronous communication with revised content being instantly visible to other users, making this platform ideal for curating an ongoing list of resources, capturing informal meeting notes and discussions, or creating a space for collaborative composition and group projects.
This open platform enables timely correction to restore a "quality" wiki page. Additionally, UBC Wiki preserves each successive edit with version control, offering freedom to rapidly return to a previous version.
How does it work?
A typical wiki is operated by a wiki engine, a collaborative software that allows users to create and collaboratively edit entries via a web browser.
By clicking an "Edit" button on an article, you are able to modify the article's text through wiki markup. Here is a cheatsheet of basic wiki markup from Wikipedia for your editing and formatting needs. Alternatively, the "edit toolbar" above the edit box may also be used to automatically place and format various aspects of wiki code. Pressing the "Save Page" will send the modified text back to the wiki server, which will then display the updated version for all to see. All of the changes will be recorded and may be viewed using the "History" tab at the upper right-hand corner of a wiki page.
Who is using it at UBC?
Many faculty, staff, and students actively engage with the UBC Wiki. Below are some selected examples:
- LIBR 559M: Social Media for Information Professionals on HLWIKI International
- APBI402-SOIL502: Sustainable Soil Management
- Dr. Janette Bulkan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest Resources Management at UBC. She has incorporated Open Educational Resources in courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. She challenges her students to apply their learning beyond the walls of the lecture hall through the creation of case studies in which students are asked to evaluate real world issues in Forestry management and conservation. Each of the case studies includes a comprehensive overview of the problem in question and ends with students’ recommendations on how one might move forward sustainably.
- Dr. Mark Turin an Associate Professor of Anthropology at UBC, Chair of the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program and Acting Co-Director of the University’s new Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies.He invites his students to explore various digital tools for endangered language documentation, conservation, and revitalization and support their critical exploration, review and presentation of their learning through wiki assignments.
Teaching and Learning Services and Initiatives
- Learning Enhancement Academic Partnership and Chapman Learning Commons Online Tutoring
- Open UBC: UBC Wiki and Website
- Digital Tattoo: UBC Wiki and Website
- Open Case Studies: UBC Wiki and Website
Why use it?
The UBC Wiki can serve as a live repository of rich resources to meet a variety of pedagogical, professional development needs of our teaching and learning community. Since UBC Wiki resides on the Internet, faculty, staff, and students have more flexibility and control, with regards to time and location, to access and to engage with the content. The "Discussion" feature of UBC Wiki may also invites interdisciplinary dialogues and collaborative learning on a specific topic. Moreover, our engagement with this open platform can be a way to demonstrate our pedagogical expertise and to foster collaborative relationships with members of our teaching and learning community.
What are the downsides?
It may be time-consuming and labour-intensive to monitor for inappropriate and/or inaccurate content, as all authorized users have editing privileges. The open structures typical of UBC Wiki - such as the absence of templates, hierarchical organization and navigation - can be disorienting for some users. Given that the overall organization of this database is asynchronously determined by the community rather than an individual, it may be challenging to structure content for easy access.
What are some best practices?
Adopted from the UBC WIki Guidelines.
In order to increase visibility and searchability of the valuable resources that we create, it is crucial that all TLPD members actively contribute to the maintenance of resource organization. Here are some best practices to facilitate our collective effort in creating a sustainable, comprehensive repertoire of quality resources on teaching and learning.
- Always search first before creating a new page
- This will save you time and help facilitate with maintaining overall organization and quality of wiki pages. In particular, this ensures that existing pages remain updated and prevents redundancy in information.
- Organize and give your page a concise and descriptive name
- Make sure that any pages you create are in the right space of the wiki. We are currently developing general TLPD templates (e.g., Teaching Strategies, Pedagogical Approach, Lesson Plan, etc.) to automatically generate when you create a new wiki page.
- Check your work for compliance with Canadian copyright laws
- Do not upload copyrighted material if you do not have permission to do so. Please see Copyright at UBC for more information.
- Leave notes
- All authorized users are encouraged to help keep content up to date and organized, but it would be helpful (particularly with large edits) to fill in the "Summary" box with what you changed. If you are uncertain about something, you can leave comments in the edit box itself or make use of the "Discussion" tab at the top of the page.
What are the implications for our work?
The versioning capability of UBC Wiki can show the evolution of thought process as we develop its contents; we can learn from our colleagues different approaches to resource development and engage in collegial conversations to promote knowledge sharing and our own professional development. Additionally, this approach would promote sustainability of our collective resource curation efforts, as any edits done to the UBC Wiki page will automatically update in all locations (e.g., CTLT external-facing website) where the content has been embedded. Provided that members of the teaching and learning community have access to internet, they will be able to readily access UBC Wiki and engage with quality resources aimed to build capacity in their teaching practice and to ultimately enhance student experiences and learning. Through modeling and demonstration, we may encourage faculty, staff, and students to step out of their comfort zones in teaching and learning. Last but not least, we could expand our potential reach beyond our UBC teaching and learning community by publishing, categorizing, and licensing our resources with Creative Commons licenses. We could forge new relationships with the broader community of educational developers and consultants to create a collaborative environment for our mutual learning and growth!
Resources for getting started
- Need some support for thinking through questions related to "why would I use the UBC Wiki?": See Rationale
- Need to know how to navigate the wiki space and the new editing interface? See: Getting Started
- You can get face to face support for your wiki project by attending one of the weekly Wiki Clinics offered in the Learning Technology Hub at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology at UBC-V. Check the schedule for the next available date.
When re-using this resource, please attribute as follows: Created and developed by Deb Chen and Cindy Underhill of Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology.