If I had a paranoid side, I would swear gremlins are hiding inside every project we have to do is this class. This one was no exception. I should have realized something was going to happen — it all came together too easily.
I decided to make a mobisite for the MCJ 103 class that I teach on campus. The five pages needed to fulfill the assignment include about the class (the basic components of the syllabus), the class schedule by week, the spelling list of more than 1,700 words that students must know, a brief discussion of the grammar issues and, lastly, tips on how to pass the grammar, spelling and punctuation exam, which students must pass in order to pass the class and continue in the mass communication majors. Sounds reasonable, right? Wrong!
The site came together quickly, and though I had a niggling feeling something wasn’t quite right, I clicked the publish button, put the link on the class forum and moved on to other homework. The next day, I decided to look at it once again, and I found errors. That is not unusual. When viewing something in a different way or looking at it later, people often see errors they didn’t see at the time of creation. So I logged into the site to fix them but found that I did not have anything created. That was really odd. I logged in with the same user name and password the site had emailed to me the day before (I even double checked it), so I knew I had done it right. I could type the URL of the previous day’s work into the browser and see the messed up pages, but I could not get to them to make corrections. Rather than try to figure out the problem (I spent too much time on past projects trying to do just that when you should cut your losses and move on), I rebuilt the site with the corrections. Again, it didn’t take much time. Amazingly, that site now appears on my website manager page for mobiSite. I have no clue where the original went, which doesn’t really matter because the second version is better.
I learned an interesting thing. I know the mobiSite reminds you to use short sentences, which I didn’t think was a big deal. But when you view the site in the mobile phone preview, you cannot read an entire long sentence without scrolling. That will turn off users rather quickly. Hence, the admonition to use short sentences. I have discovered a similar thing with recording the audio for various projects. If the sentences are long, which might not be a problem when you read silently, then it is difficult to read aloud an entire sentence or sometimes a long phrase in one breath. That can force some odd pauses you don’t intend to have happen.
Anyway, you can check out my mobiSite here!
Before this class, the only Wiki I had ever used was Wikipedia and that was just to find information. I didn’t have a clue about how one added to the wiki, made corrections or even started one. Dr. Yuen had hardly begun the demonstration about how it works when I realized this could be just the format for a class I teach about grammar in the School of Mass Communications and Journalism. I like to bring a lot of different elements to the class, but right now these are stored on my desktop and printed out for students. Wouldn’t it be better to have the material available to all the students after they have left the class and probably misplaced the handouts? (It should be especially useful for students who miss classes.) I could also add extra things, like videos, links to other Websites and other items that we never have time for in class but could provide extra help. As soon as I have time, I am going to create a wiki for that class.
For the class assignment right now, however, Roslyn Warren and I worked together to create a wiki called The Know! Zone, a great place to find tips for making your college experience a success. We decided to put our individual expertise together: Roslyn’s counseling experience and my writing experience. I also added links to work I did earlier this semester and last semester.
The number of editing changes I made seems like a lot until I realize that most of them were just to fix picky things: adding and removing spacing, a typo here and there that I missed, things like that.
Roslyn created the wiki, picked the theme (loved the springtime green colors but not too crazy about the presents on the top bar–too Christmasy), dressed up the home page with pictures and added a page on dealing with stress. I added three pages on writing and one on advice from professors.
I learned a few things from this exercise. First, I learned not to take changes others make personally. I added an introductory statement to the home page. Then Roslyn really jazzed it up by changing the colors, add more to the statement and including some pictures. I suppose co-administrators could war over whose correction stands, but we didn’t have any problems. However, if you were working with someone who made changes you disliked, there may be huge problems!
I can see lots of uses for a wiki, especially in a class setting where students would be adding their work to the overall product. I can also see uses in more personal settings. For instance, a family scattered around the globe could collaborate on genealogy and family history, share photos and videos and just keep in touch.