Creating a Student Wiki in Blackboard™ (for language learners)

Creating  a Blackboard Wiki, for language learners.

students: Please go directly to part IV.

I. Introduction.

Creating a Wiki in Blackboard  is an activity that engages students with the culture of their target language, and allows them to contribute to their courses.  Wikis are somewhat similar, and derived from what we know as Wikipedia.  Similarly, they are not supposed to be an official reference for any particular topic, but an account of an individual’s or a community’s research and knowledge of a subject.

The advantages of Wikis are that they can include links to pages outside the wiki (references to particular terms, or general references), embedded audio and video, and that they can subsequently be edited by both the instructor and the student(s).

II.i.  Outline of the activity:

a) choose an article in the target language media, that is of particular interest to the student. (in this case an newspaper, magazine, or online article)

b) summarize the article to about 1/2 page of handwritten A4, or about 1-2 minutes of reading aloud.

c) record a clip of the student reading his/her summary (in this case video, though could be audio. A particular advantage of of video is that it takes some space on the Wiki and cannot be missed in the same way a small audio player could.)

d) convert the clip to a  .mov file (Quicktime) by using: Cool MOV MPEG4 ASF iPOD AVI converter freeware. This format is accepted by Bb, and will even convert large .mov files to smaller ones using default configurations.

See tutorial below for step by step guidance on how to convert video:

N.B. The quality of audio to video sync. when converting from AVI’s (most small cameras record onto this format) is not perfect. It is when downsizing a .mov though.

N.B.  i.  Students could record the videos themselves on the webcam of their computer with their own cameras. In this case I recorded them myself because I did not know how the students would be equipped or what their motivation would be to do it themselves.

ii. I used language  laboratory time to do this, so that whilst filming one student, the others could be doing further research on their article. (see below)

II.ii. Once the video is uploaded to their Wiki,

d) students  transcribe the video they have recorded. Alternatively, students could transcribe another student’s Wiki to avoid repetition and increase the scope of the transcribing.

e) students create Hyperlinks to words in their summaries that they have found are out of their lexical range or that they find important to know precisely in the context of the article. The Hyperlink can link to a definition or article found online (Wikipedia for example).

f) students create a Hyperlink to the article that they made the summary of.

f) students find and embed an online video into their Wiki, below their own video. (in the case of Bb we found that YouTube videos work best. Others need the parameters for the size of the video to be entered manually)

g) students quote what is said during the video and indicate the timeline references for 4 different quotes. They proceed to hyperlink important terms (as above).

h)  Students may write a reaction piece of about 4 lines to the content of the video, and how it relates to their article.

i) finally, students include a heading entitled ‘References’. This will provide Further Reading for a more in depth view into their topic.

III. Tutorial on how to create a Wiki for language learners,  in Blackboard.

1. Go to Blackboard, log in, and select the course you want the Wiki to be in:

My Courses

Click on appropriate course

2. Go to Course documents:
Go to course documents

Click on Course Documents

3. Go into ‘edit’ mode in the file structure ( top right-hand corner).
click 'edit view' in the top right-hand corner

click 'edit view' in the top right-hand corner

4. Create a folder where you will keep the videos of the student:
Click on the +folder icon.

Click on the +folder icon.

5. Open the folder (double-click) and make sure you are in ‘edit’ mode (see 3.):  You can toggle between ‘edit’ and ‘display’ modes by clicking on either of those two words in the top right-hand corner.
6. Create a ‘Podcast Episode’, by selecting ‘Podcast Episode’ from the dropdown menu in the right-hand side and then press ‘Go’:
7. Give the Podcast a name (i.e the name of the student), and then add the video file that you will have stored on the computer:
select file to upload

select file to upload

8. Press submit (bottom right):

9. Some students are particular about having their video accessible to all on their course. I you click on ‘Manage’, once  it is loaded in the ‘Videos’ folder, you can determine who sees it.

10.  Go back to the ‘Course Documents’ folder and create a new folder (as in 4.). Name it: ‘Wikis’. Click on this file (Wikis) and then follow step 5 ( i.e. enter ‘edit mode’).

11. Go to the dropdown (as in step 6), and from the dropdown select: ‘ Wiki’, and then press  ‘Go’.

12.  Name= ‘ name of the student’. Tick the following ‘radio’ boxes:

click on those boxes

click on those boxes

13. Click ‘OK’:

14. Click on ‘view’

15. Click on ‘Edit’:

16. Now comes the slightly tiresome part, when you will be used to this process, because unless you have the presence of mind to record the link to the video, you will have to go back to it….

17. (i am assuming you need the url to the video). Go back to ‘Course Documents’ (left-hand column).  Go to your  ‘Videos’ folder and right click on the video link (‘watch’) you want to insert into the Wiki: now left-click on ‘Copy link Location’.

right click on 'view' and 'copylink location'

right click on 'view' and 'copylink location'

18. Go back to the Wiki that you want to insert the video into (Step 14, 15)
19. Once in ‘Edit’ Click the ‘Embed” button in the toolbar:
20. ‘Paste’ the link from the student’s video into the Windows pop-up window.
21. You have to specify the size of the Video.
21.i. TO find the size of the video, open the video with ‘Quicktime’ and press ‘Ctrl’ and ‘ I’:
in Quicktime pressing Ctrl and I gives the video information

in Quicktime pressing Ctrl and I gives the video information

22. Click on Insert.
23. Once the video box appears on the screen (without pictures), click on ‘Save’, and you will see the video in the Wiki.
At this point you can email your student and tell him/her that the video is ‘up’ on the Wiki. Now they have to run through part IV of this Blog.
IV. How to access and edit Wiki, add Hyperlinks and Embed Video.

a. Go to Blackboard.

b. Open the appropriate course, eg. MLF 121

c. Go to ‘Course Documents’ (in the left-hand menu)

d. Double-click on the folder called ‘Wikis’.

e. Double-click  your group, eg. Group A

f. Double-click the Wiki with your name:

you should now be seeing your Video  embedded in the Wiki.

g. click on ‘edit’, in the right-hand column:

h. Your video will appear as a yellow box with a Q in the middle. Click to the right of the video, and then press the right arrow on your keyboard. Now press ‘Return’. Your cursor will now be under the video.

i. Type the transcription of your video speech under the video.

j. find the difficult words in your text and select them with your cursor:

select word

select word

k.  Once you have the word selected click on the Hyperlink icon in the toolbar:

click on the Hyperlink symbol

click on the Hyperlink symbol

l. You will see a pop-up menu called “Insert link Microsoft Windows Menu”. Copy the url address of the webpage that you want the word to link to (it could be a dictionary definition):

m. Click on ‘Insert’. The word is now a live link to a webpage outside the Wiki.

n. include the link to your original article after your transcription. (the one you got your summary from)

After you have transcribed and hyperlinked your video trascript, you need to embed a related video:

o. Insert a YouTube video: for those of you who are a little bit tech savvy , you may want to try embedding another type of video, i.e. not YouTube. For this you will need to specify the size of the video.

i) go to the video you want to embed and copy the url that is in the browser, i.e:   (Jacques Brel interview)

ii) in the task bar at the top of the Wiki, click on the ‘Embed’ button (sixth from the right) :

iii) another menu will pop-up. Paste the URL that you have copied into the box marked URL:

Embed pop-up

iv) click ‘Insert’.

you will now see a yellow box in your Wiki, this will be the location of your video,  when you save your edit.

v) Quote the video four times and mention the place in the timeline where you took the quote from, eg:

0:58…. “oh non, je crois pas, rien n’arrive quand on attend.”

1:31…. “Quand j’étais gamin je lisais presque rien.”

, and so on until you have your 4 quotes.

vi) if there are any words that you find important in the quotes, please Hyperlink, as you did above.

p) Create References:

 under a separate heading, include some links to ‘Further Reading’ that you consider important for more information on the subject: describe the link in words, and then Hyperlink it to the specific article.

eg:                         . La vie et l’oeuvre de Jacques Brel (Wikipedia)

select this text and Hyperlink it.

If you have completed steps a- p,  you have finished your Wiki. Email your instructor to review it and wait for his corrections.

V. Reasons for creating a Student Wiki in Blackboard™

. Students research in the target language, on a subject of interest to the them.

The subject could ideally be one that is culturally significant to the country/ countries of the target language.

. Students actively participate in the creation of their courses.

This ensures that students take responsibility for their learning and interest in the study; and not be passive to a series of lectures they might not be interested in.

By having them choose the content of their Wiki ( this can be more or less honed-in by the instructor) it increases the chance of the work being completed, and empowers them to be confident in the opinions that they express.

. Improve students’ skills in new technologies and general computer related skills.

This is useful for the students’ CV and has them keep abreast of new developments and online content and possibilities.

. To create a hub for exam revision.

Subjects included in the exam can be decided upon based on the content of the Wikis.

The criteria for selection of Wikis to be revised from can be:

. Completeness of student’s Wiki.

. A subjective decision based upon the content of the individual Wiki based on which subjects seem most appropriate for the exam.

. Ideally the instructor will hone-in the subject/s of the Wikis to coincide with those of the exam. Some lee way can be given, ex: if ‘The Media in France’ is the topic at the exam, the Wiki subjects could include a specific program on French TV, current affairs that relate to Media, general sections/ subsections in the organization of French Media, the history of French Media and so on.

. Ease of grading.

.Although Bb, to my knowledge does not have a ‘Track Changes’ feature in their Wiki section, the instructor can correct the Wikis using underline and brackets.

.Having centralized and online content that can be graded, corrected and given back remotely.


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