Summer of Moodle series of posts

August 19, 2020, by Helen Whitehead

A Summer of Moodle #10: Encouraging students to collaborate using Wikis and Databases

You may want your students to work together as a whole class or in groups of whatever size is appropriate. If so, Moodle has several activities to make this happen.  By using collaboration tools such as the Wiki and Database you can set up group work exercises in the same way as you might in a classroom or other situation outside Moodle. While wikis and databases can readily be used by individual students, they are particularly suited to collaboration.

The Database activity in Moodle

This allows staff and/or students to build, display and search a bank of entries of any kind. Each entry can be made up of a customisable set of fields including images, files, URLs, numbers and text. Students can work individually or as a group.

Here are some ways you might use Moodle Databases:

  • Allow learners to share images and comment on them to help build a sense of belonging.
  • Build a bibliography.
  • Share field or lab results.
  • Submit posters and rate each other’s.
  • Students submit information in a “form” to staff (where entries aren’t made public to other students).
  • Create a hours log for placement students to record their hours.
  • Create a record of every tutorial (by not approving student contributions they remain visible only to staff and the student who posted).
  • Supervisors can advertise the research projects that they are prepared to supervise, providing information for students making their choices about research work.
  • Maintain a database of placement opportunities (updated regularly via a csv file).

The Moodle Wiki

The Wiki is a web page or website which can be edited collaboratively by a number of participants. For example it might be used for students to work together, collaboratively creating a document or website, a bibliography or list of resources, response to a question, presentation plan, etc.

Each person can add to the page(s) or edit others’ contributions. A history is kept so that the teacher can see who has changed what and when. It’s a simple way to collaborate to share information. Wikis are particularly useful as part of a group work activity. Students can pool the outcomes of their research, or the drafts of their group reports, for input from and development by the other members of the group.

Here are some examples of how you might use wikis:

  • A course wiki might be useful for knowledge building around threshold concepts.
  • Wikis could be used for a group project where evidence of planning, knowledge construction and team work are integral to the final mark.
  • Individual wikis can be useful when students are to evidence planning and show drafts of an assignment.
  • Build a mini website as a pair or group to share with the class (Group A does Cadmium, Group B does Selenium, etc.).
  • Students work together to create a document, e.g., law students create a brief from a given scenario.
  • Brainstorm before a face to face class or seminar, e.g., What does Spain make you think of?

You can find more examples and full details of how to create and use Databases and Wikis in our new resource: Online collaboration with Moodle Databases and Wikis [Link to University of Nottingham Xerte toolkit]

Example of a wiki

Example of a Moodle Wiki with Problems encountered in group work in the first column and solutions in the second

Posted in CollaborationGroup workLearning technologyMoodleOnline learningSummer of Moodle