Blog, Wiki, or Discussion Board?

Most faculty have a fairly good idea of the differences between a Blog, Wiki and Discussion Forum, but which one will help you and your students collaborate and communicate effectively?

The chart below can be used as a guide to point you towards one tool over the others. I have used Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Forums for unusual and out of the box purposes, so don’t consider this chart set in stone. In the example, Blogs are listed as a place to present opinions but Blogs can and should be used to present facts as well.

 

Blogs

Wikis

Discussions

Think “Journals” Think “Encyclopedia” Think “Debate”
Presents opinions Presents facts Presents facts and opinions
Spotlight is on one student as they deeply reflect on a topic. Collaborative pieces that do not belong to any one person. Open area where everyone has an equal opportunity to be heard.
Commenting

Other students can read entries and leave comments for the blogger, but deep conversation does not necessarily occur.

Commenting

Use of the comments feature is strongly discouraged, and should only be used by the instructor when they need to intervene.

Commenting

Students are encouraged to respond to one another to form conversations and develop meaningful dialogue. Students do not necessarily need to agree.

Use Case Ideas

Students document a field experience or internship

Students reflect on readings or current events

Students use the area for creative writing, brainstorming, or short compositions

 

Use Case Ideas

Class develops an on-going list of terms and definitions

Group researches and begins to draft and organize ideas or topics

Class compiles on-going list of resources, such as websites relating to a specific topic, and writes reviews and descriptions

Use Case Ideas

Students choose a side and debate on a topic

Groups discuss how to work on a project

Class engages in a conversation based on a topic, provides support and citation, or answers questions from their peers

 

While your Learning Management System will include very basic Blog and Wiki tools, your LMS’s Discussion Forum has more advanced features than a free discussion forum you may find on the web. If you find that you have outgrown the Blog and Wiki tools in your LMS, or they simply do not meet your needs and goals, consider the following options.

Google’s Blogger.com can be used with your existing Google usernames and passwords.

Wikispaces.com is an easy to use Wiki that allows the instructor to create a roster of student email addresses and passwords. (No Google account integration.) Accounts can be created by going to your Class Wiki, choosing Settings, and then User Creator.

 

Suggested Reading

Conrad, Rita-Marie; Donaldson, J. Ana (2011). Engaging the Online Learner : Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction.

 

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