What I Learned About Collaborative Writing from a Wiki Project

A screen capture of my class's wiki.

Last spring I used a wiki in a course for the first time. It had its ups and downs, but for the most part it went well and it was a useful tool. However, as these things go, it of course had some pitfalls (caused by me, not the wiki itself) — the most surprising to me was the way that student collaborative writing went. The ease of collaborative writing was the aspect of using a wiki I was most sold on, and it did not work out at all the way I’d expected.

Sharing Dissertation Writing with DropBox


Using DropBox to share drafts of his dissertation chapters helped Evan streamline his writing and revision process. Working on a piece of academic writing that requires multiple readers and commenters can get logistically complicated, especially when working on a multi-chapter dissertation project. DropBox can alleviate some of the frustration when keeping drafts organized, as well as keep your committee members up-to-date on your progress.

Learning in the E(ye) of the Beholder

Although all teaching uses technology of some kind (like the abacus), that's not what we mean when we talk about e-learning.

Mentioning e-learning to people is likewise liable to elicit a lot of different ideas. Mention “e-learning at William & Mary” and that situation weights an already fuzzy topic with all the stakes of another: an older and more storied one, a proud and precious one, laced with tradition and values. The two might seem juxtaposed, the one impersonal as a glowing screen observed by a lone student, the other more like the warm glow of the Yule Log on the faces of a host of students. How can these things ever go together? In this post, John addresses this question.

Do-It-Yourself Audio Commentary for Films


Cued-up audio files of film commentary are becoming more popular. Independently recording audio commentary for a film avoids copyright issues and could let you provide students with pre-recorded information they can listen to along with an assigned film. In this post, Kim talks about the ways that the idea of independent audio commentary could help instructors use media in the classroom.

Three Ways to Use Google Drive for Student Assignments

collaboration with Google Drive

In this post, I offer three suggestions for assignments using Google Drive to create spaces for dialogue for you and your students.

Using WordPress in Your Class for Student Writing and Websites

Thinking about using a Web-based assignment in a class this semester? If so, this post covers the basics of assigning these kinds of projects to students. Evan also lists many resources for writing Web-based assignments using WordPress, as well as tutorials to help you get started.

WMApps: What’s That?


What is WMApps and what Google Apps tools are available for students and faculty to use? In this post, I explain the student access to Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Reader via their W&M gmail accounts.

Drawn In: Collaborative Storytelling and Brandon Generator


What does the writer/director of Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim have to show us about writing and publishing collaboratively on the Web?

On Maps, Geography and Academia

1612 "John Smith Map"

First of all, let me fess up, I love maps and, for as long as I can remember, always have. In large part it was maps that captured my imagination and brought me to the natural sciences generally, and to geology — my chosen area of studies, specifically. It was not, as you might expect, […]