Learning4Content/Workshops/Face-to-Face schedule/L4C58/Workshop Report
Face-to-Face WikiEducator Workshop Report
Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis
The facilitator wishes to thank the following:
- Minister of Education, Honourable Sam Condor, for his encouraging and enlightening closing remarks;
- Principal, Ms. Sonia McPhail for her remarks during the closing ceremony, her support and commitment to open learning resources;
- Mr. Randy Taylor, for his vision, hard work, tremendous support, energy and willingness to go the extra mile;
- The support and technical staff at the College for their administrative support and technical expertise,
- All lecturers/participants who actively participated in the workshop and produced some open educational resources in WikiEducator!
The media came to the opening ceremonies and published an interesting article.
Introduction and Background
This workshop was organised based on the willingness and enthusiasm of Mr. Taylor to introduce the concept of open teaching and learning into the College, along with the available tools to develop open educational content. Lecturers at CFBC have been looking at ways to integrate technology in their teaching and learning, to produced blended teaching and learning models. Although they were not very familiar with the concept of open content, they embraced it enthusiastically as they learned how to use WikiEducator, which was identified as one of the technologies that could be used in the teaching and learning context at CFBC.
Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) campus in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis.
19 participants attended the workshop, some of them more consistently than others, as it is common in these settings. People were coming and going every day and some attended only a few sessions (morning or afternoon) on a given day. However, there was a core group of participants that were engaged consistently and effectively, producing very positive results as part of their learning. These results can be seen in their user pages and sandboxes. Overall, most participants were able to practice their newly acquired skills at differing levels, commensurate with their attendance.
Of the 19 participants, 13 were female, and 6 were male. All participants were very committed to continuing to use WikiEducator to develop new learning resources and to explore ways of integrating WikiEducator in their classroom teaching. All participants were CFBC lecturers from a cross-section of departments/schools.
In preparation for the workshop, Mr. Taylor met with Rosario the day she arrived to finalise the agenda and make arrangements for all required support materials, such as data projectors, etc. We went over the requirements to ensure the workshop was successful:
- Technical requirements: We checked the number of computers available, Internet connectivity and access to WikiEducator site
- Software requirements: Since we could not install software on the computers in the lab, it was deemed that the installation of Open Office was not crucial for the learning. It was decided to strongly encourage participants to download the software onto their own computers.
- Administrative requirements: We carried out the printing of all the support materials (handouts), the learning contracts and registration forms, the agenda, the cheat-sheet, etc.
- The agenda
- The learning contract
- The registration form
- Print outs of the 11 workshop lesson notes (about 75 pages)
- The electronic copies of the lesson notes and the lesson presentation slides
- Enable participants to create, format, edit and revise content in Wiki format;
- Enable participants to use the communications tools in WikiEducator to promote collaborative work;
- Enable participants to manage the collaborative work, compare work versions and revert to previous versions;
- Generate awareness about open educational resources and the free content movement.
We were almost able to complete the 11 tutorials in the allocated three days! We were able to cover 10 tutorials and decided to briefly go over the navigational templates so that participants would have at least 1/2 day to practice with their own content. They were reluctant to work with their own content and argued that they needed time to design it before they could put it in WikiEducator where "everyone could see it".
The group was quite large and included participants with varied skill levels in the use of computers. As in past workshops, there were two identifiable "factions" in the group:
- The more knowledgeable group was able to move quickly through the initial tutorials and resolved all activities promptly. As the work progressed, this group tended to show signs of impatience as the content was presented slower so as to keep the less computer literate participants engaged as well.
- The group with less computer usage experience and therefore with less computer literacy skills, required more support from the facilitator, including a lot of one-on-one support, hence slowing down the progression of the work;
The concept of Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Free/Libre content generated heated debate and lengthy discussion, as always. Most participants were not familiar with OERs and had to be engaged in critical thinking to realise the benefits of the free content movement. As we concluded the discussions the group was more tolerant to entertain the concept of openness in educational resources.
Following the introduction of WikiEducator, participants were led to create their own accounts and "sandboxes" in the system; after which they started to learn basic text editing skills, using both the formatting tool bar and the wiki syntax. Since some participants were showing some signs of difficulty in learning these editing skills, they were given a bit more time to practice. Participants were not prepared with their own content, therefore they practiced with a variety of miscellaneous content topics, mostly personal.
As the basic editing skills were mastered, including all types of formatting, participants were able to move on to manipulating images in WikiEducator and to inserting internal and external links into their content. Slowly, all participants were able to insert and manipulate images in their own user pages. They were also keen to insert links to external sites and to look for internal information to link to their pages. The workshop was wrapped up after covering the use use of pedagogic templates in WikiEducator, and a brief overview of navigational templates. Most participants wanted to have time to practice what they had learned and have access to the facilitator, so we used the rest of the 1/2 day for that purpose. A few participants were interested in learning about navigational templates, so a small group was created and we completed the tutorial, including some practice examples.
By the end of the Learning 4 Content workshop, participants were able to:
- Create and maintain their accounts in WikiEducator,
- Add and edit text in WikiEducator,
- Format text in WikiEducator,
- Use formatting for numbered and bulleted lists,
- Insert internal and external links in their content pages,
- Identify pedagogical templates in WikiEducator and plan for their utilization with their own content,
- Insert pedagogical templates in their designs and use them to produce their own content,
- Use navigational templates and create subpages in WikiEducator.
Upon completion of the workshop, here are some of the lessons learned:
- The existing Agenda for the Learning 4 Content workshops is based on a very long day. We ended up working between 9am and 4pm, with one hour for lunch. Shorter working days make it more difficult to be able to deliver the full content of the 11 tutorials within the allocated timeframe.
- Assess computer literacy of participants prior to workshop and devise a strategy to group them into more homogeneous work groups. The more advanced users can start with the online tutorials and come together with the whole group for discussions and questions.
- Wiki skills are easy to learn, even for users that do not have a lot of computer literacy skills. However, it is important that extra time is allotted to ensure that all users have a chance to practice and apply the learned skills;
- The learn by doing format is very appreciated by all participants;
- Give participants some resource readings on OERs and the open source movement in advance of the workshop. It will assist them in critically debating the concept of WikiEducator;
Issues for CFBC
- Institutional commitment: There seems to be institutional commitment from management and the Ministry of Education to continue to explore open educational resources and how they can be integrated in the teaching and learning processes.
- Participants' commitment: A few participants demonstrated commitment to using WikiEducator and to integrating OERs into their practice, but most of them had concerns about the openness of the collaboration process. Most participants showed some concerns about signing the learning contract.
- Capacity development: Continuing to develop capacity by creating opportunities to use Wiki skills is important and should be part of staff development at the College.
- In order to solidify the commitment to the use of Wiki skills to create open content and the integration of OERs into their practice, it is important that participants participate in specific, contextual and relevant Wiki projects. At a wrap up meeting with Mr. Taylor, we discussed the need for the College to provide leadership in this regard and start at least one institutional project. There were three ideas:
- Develop a project in which teachers could integrate the use of a Wiki into their classrooms;
- Further investigate how WikiEducator can be integrated for use with Moodle, the LMS the college will be using in the future to provided blended delivery;
- Develop a collaborative project to involve all faculty in the creation of a draft teaching and learning policy with regard to the use of technology in teaching and learning. Grassroots policy development when staff is actively involved, promotes ownership.
- Encourage CFBC staff and the computer literate participants to register in advanced WikiEducator training online (available from COL)