M16 - Wikis and Blogs
Two tools for social networking, sharing and creating ideas.
A wiki is a collection of collaboratively authored web pages and can be a powerful tool for collaboration and group work. The entire course can edit a document or you can create group wikis that are only editable by group members or individual students. You can also create wikis which only the teacher (tutor) can edit. Some suggested uses are group lecture notes, group project management and brainstorming. A wiki starts with a simple front page. Students can edit the page and add more pages and edit them. Old versions of each page can always be viewed (and restored if required) by checking the page History. Wikis can be used, for example, to allow students to collaboratively gather evidence for a presentation or to support students in the creation of collaborative 'model answers' to specific questions.
- To create a wiki, click the Turn editing on button.
- Decide where you want to locate the wiki, then select Wiki from the Add an activity or resource link.
- The Adding a new wiki page appears. Give the wiki a descriptive Wiki name and Wiki description.
- Add a First page name.
- The Default format is HTML (standard web codes) but experienced wiki users can use simplified wiki-specific code options.
- Click Save and display and then click on Create page. You will then be taken to the editing view of the wiki page you just created.
- Editing a wiki is fairly straightforward; click on the Edit tab to open the Moodle text editor. You can use the main editing features, but the Moodle wiki recognises some wiki-specific functional codes that you can type directly into the editor. The next step (adding a page) is an example of using this type of markup.
- Type the name of your page inside double brackets e.g. [[references]]. You can preview it by clicking the "preview" button towards the bottom of the screen.
- Click Save.
- Now click the (red) link for one of the 'linked' pages and you will be prompted to create it in the same way you create the first page:
- Once you add some content and save the page, it becomes active. Whenever you type the same word in square brackets, Moodle will automatically create a link to that page.
The Comments tab at the top or link in the navigation block allows users to see and add comments about the wiki.The History tab users to see what has been altered in the wiki. Compare edits by clicking the Compare Selected button. Click the Restore button of the version you wish to restore if the latest edit is unsuitable.The Map tab at the top or link in the navigation block allows users to view areas of the wiki such as a list of pages, updated or orphaned pages etc. (Orphaned pages are pages not linked to anywhere.)The Files tab at the top or link in the navigation block allows users to access any files which have been added to the wiki.The Administration tab at the top or link in the navigation block is available to editing teachers to delete page versions or selected pages.
Blogs or "web logs" are a popular and easy-to-use form of public online journal, used as a platform for comment and reflection in a wide range of areas including education. Common blog applications used by educators are Blogger and Wordpress. Moodle also has a blogging tool which is user-based. Each user has his or her own blog, which is not specific to any particular course and everyone in Moodle can see (unless marked as private).
- To add a blog entry, from the Navigation block, click on My Profile, Blogs then Add a new entry
- In the Add a new entry page, add an Entry title then write the content in the Blog entry body using the usual editor.
- Choose who you want to see the entry.
- Yourself---so your blog entry is a private
- Anyone on your site
- Anyone in the world
- You can select appropriate tags (key words) for your entry.
- Click Save changes
- You can edit your blog entry using Edit at the bottom of the entry and can also delete the blog entry completely if you wish.
- To see the blog entries of others, if the course has a People block, click on Participants to reach individual profiles (and hence blogs) or the Blogs tab to see a list of entries presented in chronological order (the newest at the top).
- If blogging is to be part of a particular course, the Blog Menu block provides useful extra functions and is worth adding to the home page (see Miniguide M07 Organising blocks).
- Another blog-related block is Blog Tags which displays a list of blog tags (keywords describing a blog entry) where font size visually indicates how many blogs are tagged with that keyword. The more frequently used blog tags appear in a larger font size and the least used appear in smaller fonts. This format is sometimes called a "tag cloud". The aim is to visually identify what are the most common subjects blogged about.
- You can add RSS feeds from external blogs, such as Wordpress so that entries are automatically included in your Moodle blog. Go to the Settings tab, then My profile settings, Blogs, Blog RSS feed.
- In the URL box, add the RSS feed of the blog you wish to register.