This semester I’ve been teaching a seminar on contemporary economic issues. I’ve blogged about this course before, most recently this morning. A key part of the course is a wiki that we have used to identify the topics we wanted to study, find references for those topics, as well as posting notes from the references and from class discussion. The wiki has been a very useful way to facilitate the course. We decided (and I mean, we–another characteristic of the course is that students have had key role in defining every aspect of the course) that we should end the course with a final project rather than an exam. Here is an excerpt from the project description.
Wikis are known to be excellent tools for brainstorming or more generally facilitating group processes. One of the criticisms of wikis, though, is that they are not pretty. In a sense, that’s not a fair criticism since wikis aren’t really designed to be products. At the same time, there’s no reason why they can’t be.
The purpose of this final project is to turn the wiki from a process-oriented website into a product-oriented one, or more precisely, into a collection of reusable text resources. The product should be addressed to college students who are not necessarily economics majors. The class will be divided into three teams: one for each of the major topics we studied: Globalization, the European Union, and the U.S. Budget Deficit. Grades will be determined based on the quality of your group’s product, how well your group documents what you did, and your contribution to the group as evaluated by the other members.
I also told the class that I have enlisted several outside experts to assess their product. These include two students who recently graduated but with whom I remain in touch, and two students from my first year advising group, who are examples of the types of students the product should be addressed to.
If you want to follow the progress of the groups, you can reach the wiki here.