Wednesday, February 02, 2005

BESIG: Where are the Business English blogs (part 2)

Since my last post on BESIG and the discussion that has recently started on blogging, there has been a lot more activity. In fact, I haven't had time to blog because I've been writing replies to the emails on the list, and the BESIG discussion group list itself seems to have ignited, with more activity recently than I can remember in a long while.

Cleve has been blogging about this too, and we've agreed to produce some sort of joint summary on the wiki relating to what has been said so far.

Meanwhile, here's another taster:

In one of my emails, I'd finished with this:

Finally one last question:
Where are the BE and BESIG wikis?

which received the following reply from David Hogg:

Okay, everyone, simmer down: I'll ask it.

Graham: I haven't got the blindest idea what you're tawkin' about.
What's a "wiki"?

If you tell us *what* they are, Graham, we just might tell you
*where* to find them.

An explanation of a wiki was posted by another member of the group (Ann Seppänen), which included a very good definition / comparison with a discussion forum:

"Wikis...offer new possibilities for collaborative writing tasks, as compared with the familiar discussion forum. With a discussion forum, person 1 posts a message to the forum and has...30 mins to edit out any blunders, add clarification, and otherwise enhance the first version of the message. Then along comes person 2, teacher or other student, who can then respond to person 1's message in a reply box. And so the thread builds up box by box.

With a Wiki, any number of participants can be given writing and editing rights to the Wiki activity. All participants can contribute text, and edit their own text and that of any other contributor ...So a single text can be built up and edited repeatedly without any time limit."

Ann continued by describing her experiments with the wiki environment:

I thought this would be a wonderful format for developing business writing skills. Up till now, I have required students to write individual assignments, on which I have provided copious feedback. But it never actually FEEDS BACK, does it? So I've recently been experimenting with collaborative student writing in the Moodle Wiki according to the following procedure:

Writing task set and explained in class. Fixed groups of Wiki writers discuss face-to-face the content of the text to be produced, and agree on the division of labour. The group members can then disperse, and log in to the Moodle Wiki at a later date from remote locations and type what they have to say directly into the Wiki. I can they say my say on the text-in-progress, and send the students back to their computers to incorporate my feedback on various different aspects of the text: content, style, accuracy, whatever.

Sounds good, doesn't it? Unfortunately, the students hate it. Has anybody been working on similar lines with greater success - at least in terms of student motivation?


  1. Hi Graham,

    Can you give us the URL of your wiki please? Thanks! :-)


  2. I've just sent you an email Eric

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  5. I have just opened a new section on the wiki related to this discussion: