Investigating a Nigerian XXL‑Cohort Wiki‑Learning Experience: Observation, Feedback and Reflection
Keywords:large classes, Wiki, e-learning, learning experience, interaction, collaboration, team work
AbstractA regular feature of the Nigerian tertiary education context is large numbers of students crammed into small classrooms or lecture theatres. This context had long begged for the creation of innovative learning spaces and adoption of engaging pedagogies. Recourse to technology support and experimenting with the WIKI as a learning tool at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Nigeria gave us an insight into the benefits and challenges of the set‑up and use of new knowledge technologies in our technology‑poor context. This paper reports an experiment in an extra‑large (XXL) class of freshmen (2000+) on a module of second language project writing using the WIKI. The paper emphasises the unique advantages of the WIKI in a large blended learning class and the affordances for socio‑cultural and collaborative learning experience. In creating new learning teams and forging collaboration among learners leveraging one another's abilities, the wiki experience extended the 'classroom' beyond the physical space, engaged students in interactional communication in the second language, encouraged negotiation of meaning, and challenged learners in finding their 'solutions' to real life problems around them, aside from acquisition of hands‑on digital literacy. The paper reports on how learners experienced and participated in learning on a technology supported module. Data for the investigation and evaluation of students' learning experiences were collected using teacher observation of team formation and collaboration on activities offline and tracked students' logs, footprints and activities on group pages online; students' feedback on the end‑of‑course learners' evaluation forms; and their reflections as gleaned from their comments, encouraged and freely made continually by many from inception through to the end of the course, on the front page of our wiki. The report employs both qualitative and quantitative parameters. Results indicated a large number of students felt satisfied that the learning experience, though difficult, was worth their while; it opened up new vistas to the world; it got them working and learning to collaborate in groups; they developed a level of autonomy they would like to keep, and would like more of their courses supported by technology and thought the medium offered hope for the future, as it opened up new vistas in their learning.
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