Dr. Beth Reubin, Director of Distance Education at DePaul University School of New Learning, wanted a way to make her department's online classes more interactive and collaborative. While Blackboard's courseware made it easy for students to pick up notes and assignments from their instructors, Dr. Reubin wanted to go beyond simply letting the faculty distribute information.
DePaul's School for New Learning offers between 200 to 300 online classes each year, serving about 4,000 students. Dr. Reubin wanted to give her instructors a flexible way to improve collaboration, both inside and outside the class. The answer was a program-wide deployment of wiki from PBwiki.
DePaul uses PBwiki to provide each and every class in the distance learning program with its own wiki, along with additional wikis for committees, working groups, and personal wikis for students and staff.
In the classes, PBwiki lets instructors do a variety of things that her current version of Blackboard could not, including the following:
* Referencing back coursework, discussions, and resolutions
* Asynchronous open-ended discussions
* Posting frequently asked questions (FAQs) and reactions to them
* Enabling small group collaboration for teams of students, instructors, and administrators
Best of all, PBwiki put a stop to the ad hoc and time-wasting use of email attachments to share work and edit documents.
Dr. Reubin also believes that PBwiki will open up new possibilities for better teaching methods. "We're excited about giving our instructional designers different learning opportunities to work with."
Thanks to PBwiki's flexibility, DePaul is able to integrate PBwiki with the existing Blackboard courseware, adding links to the relevant PBwikis on Blackboard course pages.
When asked about her comfort with entrusting such important functionality to PBwiki, Dr. Reubin replied:
We have no fear about using a hosted solution. PBwiki is just as reliable as our internal systems.
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