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Wiki ideas for math, science, history and literature courses

Idea with a Post-it noteA wiki is a collection of collaboratively authored web documents that has many class uses.  In our last post, we discussed general wiki ideas; today we’ll get specific with suggestions for Math, Science, History and Literature classes.


  • Calculus or statistics space for difficult problems so students can collaborate to find solutions and see different approaches to the same tasks.
  • Applied concepts where students discuss and illustrate the actual use of concepts in daily life.
  • Detailed and illustrated descriptions of mathematical procedures with examples of daily use.


  • Students create a taxonomy of living creatures including illustrations.
  • A repository of experimental designs and lab reports for a chemistry class.
  • Detailed and illustrated descriptions of scientific processes or observations from field sites, such as water-testing in local streams or weather observations.


  • A mock-debate between candidates on specific political stands.
  • Detailed and illustrated descriptions of governmental processes.
  • A documentation of local historical buildings, events, or people within a community.


  • An online poetry or writing tutoring center facilitated by students.
  • Students write scripts for a Shakespeare scene reset in the 21st century and explain the differences in literary devices then and now.
  • A catalog of musical styles, musical instruments, fashion, or phrases used in literary readings.

Photo by Flickr user JLA Kliché / Creative Commons licensed BY-NC-SA 2.0

About the author

Cheri Crabb, PhD, Academic Technology Consultant with TLT, has a career in academia focused on instructional design and development using integrated electronic media systems for blended learning.

Also posted in Collaborate, literature, math, Moodle, Moodle Musings, online, science, Teaching and Learning, wiki | Comments Off on Wiki ideas for math, science, history and literature courses

Keeping students engaged – online

Elon stresses the importance of student engagement in the classroom. So how can you keep students active and on their toes when they’re taking your class online?

Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) held a meeting for new online faculty in mid-October. During the hour luncheon, they were introduced to the 2012 online mentors, Dr. Harlen Makemson, Associate Professor of Communications, and Dr. Karl Sienerth, Professor of Chemistry. They will provide guidance to faculty who are enhancing or modifying a face-to-face course for an online environment for the 2012 summer I session.

Drs. Makemson and Sienerth were selected as TLT online mentors for their creative approaches to online teaching. Sienerth taught “CSI Reality: Chemistry from the Cutting Room Floor,” a forensics class with a focus on chemistry. His students watched and critiqued episodes of shows like CSI: Miami and pointed out the flaws in scientific methods on the shows. They also used fingerprint analysis to identify the murderer in a set-up crime scene. Throughout the course, Sienerth had his students keep journals about their daily activities and the class connections to real life.

“They got pretty excited about it a lot of times,” he said. Students were especially impressed to notice that Sienerth was reading and commenting on each of their journal entries.

Makemson taught “Media History, Media Today,” a required class for journalism majors, online. He delivered daily course materials on a WordPress-based blog and linked to the radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds” and YouTube videos that he shows in his traditional face-to-face class. Makemson also used storify.com, a web site that allows users to create stories using a variety of social media.

For the past eight years, TLT has selected summer online faculty mentors based on course organization and innovative use of academic technology. This program complements the training and consultation that TLT provides to online faculty.

With the advancement of new online technology and social media, students can reap the benefits of both active learning and a flexible schedule through online classes.


Also posted in chemistry, communications, online, summer, Teaching and Learning | Tagged | Comments Off on Keeping students engaged – online