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Re: [K12OSN] Wiki Experiment



Interesting experiment. Is there a link to the wiki?

On 03/12/06, Steven Santos <steven simplycircus com> wrote:
I have just finished a small experiment with my schools internal circus arts
wiki, and I thought I would share the results, as it may give a few of you
some ideas (I hope it does!).  Please note that this is NOT a scientific
experiment - my testing group was very small, I did not correct for almost
any outside factors (of which there were many I should have corrected for!),
and my test group were mostly over-achievers heavily involved in
intermediate and advanced classes. YMMV.

Like many, we use an array of private internal and public external email
lists to facilitate the sharing of information.  Unfortunately, not nearly
enough of this information makes its way to our internal wiki. So the
question arises, what can we do to change this, without putting more stress
on those who so often answer the questions?

When looking at the list of subscribers for one specific list, we quickly
realized that most of those subscribed to that list were students taking
various classes.  So we asked the question: Could we make effective use of
student time and energy to capture and organize mailing list information
into a wiki in a way that is also beneficial to the student?

To test this theory, we used 5 groups of students.  All students were given
the same assignment, namely to document a list conversation as an
encyclopedic article, following a specific format. In all cases students
were allowed to ask questions to the list, and to there instructors. This
assignment was part of the class grade for all students involved.

Group 1 was our control group.  This group was not given any training or
cueing.  These students signed up for lists that had no bearing on their
personal interests (i.e. not related to any class they have ever taken, and
having never expressed an interest in the subject). This group consisted of
the following students:

  5th grade girl
  6th grade girl
  7th grade boy *
  9th grade girl
 11th grade girl
 Junior girl


Group 2 was our middle school group with an interest in the subject area.
The students in this group were given 45 minutes of training on what was
expected, and how to document the conversations.   These students were also
cued as to what conversations they should each document.  This group
consisted of the following students:

  7th grade girl
  7th grade boy
  7th grade girl *
  8th grade girl


Group 3 was our middle school group with no interest in the subject area.
The students in this group were given 45 minutes of training on what was
expected, and how to document the conversations. This group consisted of the
following students:

  7th grade girl
  7th grade girl
  8th grade girl
  8th grade girl

Group 4 was our high school group with an interest in the subject area.  The
students in this group were given 45 minutes of training on what was
expected, and how to document the conversations.  Some cueing was done to
help specific students identify conversations to document. This group
consisted of the following students:

  9th grade girl
  9th grade girl
  9th grade boy
 10th grade girl
 11th grade girl


Group 5 was our collage student group with an interest in the subject area.
The students in this group were given 45 minutes of training on what was
expected, and how to document the conversations. This group consisted of the
following students:

 Freshman boy
 Sophomore girl
 Junior girl
 Junior girl
 Senior girl


Group 1 produced a total of 9 articles, with 5 of those articles deemed to
be high quality documentation of the mailing list subjects.  4 of the
articles (including 2 of those deemed to be high quality) came from one
student, the 7th grade boy.  The other high quality articles were produced
by the 11th grade girl and collage Junior girl of the group.

Group 2 produced a total of 8 articles, with 3 of those articles deemed to
be high quality documentation of the mailing list subjects. 4 of the
articles (including 2 of those deemed to be high quality) came from one
student, the 7th grade boy.  The other high quality article came from the
8th grade girl.

Note: The two 7th grade students denoted with an * are in a journalism class
together that requires them to document various TV NEWS interviews in a
similar manner in a class wiki.  Each of these students produced 4 articles
each, 2 each being high quality.

Group 3 produced 4 articles, none of which were deemed to be high quality.

Group 4 produced 6 articles, all of which were deemed to be high quality.

Group 5 produced 5 articles, 4 of which were deemed to be high quality.

Correcting for the students in that journalism class, our little experiment
suggests that high school and collage age students can, with some training
and support, be utilized in helping to document mailing list conversations
to a wiki.

The two 7th grade journalism students indicate that the more practice (and
in-class time?) a student has with this process, the better they are able to
document them.

Of the 24 students used for this experiment, only 4 were boys.  This may
well skew the results.

Almost no in-class time was spent on this project.  More class time would
likely be helpful.

All students felt they got more out of this assignment than they would have
just writing a paper.

The more on-list questions a student asked, the more likely they would
produce a high quality article on the subject.  Those that asked no
questions almost always produced low quality articles (the 7th grade
journalism students were the only exceptions to this).

All students had to create original articles from the conversations.  We did
not look at students expanding existing articles.



----------------------------------------------------------------------
Steven Santos
Director, Simply Circus, Inc.
Email: Steven SimplyCircus com
 Mail: PO BOX 620753
       Newton, MA 02462
Phone: 781-799-4938
 eFax: 309-214-0899
  Web: www.SimplyCircus.com

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