Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 8, No. 1 (2011)

Wrestling and Wrangling with a Worrisome Wiki: An Account of Pedagogical Change in the use of a Web 2.0 technology in a First Year Education Course.

Marta Kawka, Griffith University
Kevin Larkin, University of Southern Queensland

Abstract

The delivery of higher education in online and blended modes has implications across a range of contexts economic, pedagogic, technical and social. This article explores the tensions and contradictions of teaching in a blended learning environment in terms of its pedagogic implications. It reports on how a specific Web 2.0 technology (a wiki) was used over a four year period with and by students in an Education Course to enhance their learning outcomes during their first year of university study. Student feedback (qualitative and quantitative), and the personal reflections of the first author regarding her teaching approach, kept over a four year period, provide the dataset for this article. Analysis of this data builds a story of how the wiki developed from an extraneous, inauthentic component of the course to an integral component of a successful teaching and learning experience for both the lead author and the students in the course. This story illustrates how an early career academic wrestled to develop appropriate approaches to adult education; wrangled with largely untested Web 2.0 technologies in higher education; and reaped the rewards of the use of such technologies in enhancing the educational experience of both the students and the lecturer. Although a highly personal account of wrestling, wrangling and reaping, the article provides valuable insights into the importance of establishing and maintaining authentic pedagogic relationships in increasing online educational environments. It cautions that the development of technical skills alone is insufficient to guarantee improved outcomes for students.

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