Wiki This

I’m always surprised that there are people who read this lab website blog. You really surely have better things to do with your time! But if you’re here, I’m going to point you to another website that you may find interesting. This semester I’m teaching Honors Evolution, a one-hour class each week that complements the big lecture class. The big class has 200 students, making personal interactions and discussions very difficult; the small class has 14, and I’m using it to experiment with how wikis can allow students to organize what they learn and even push the direction of a course to suit their interests.

Basically, the topic of the Honors course is how evolution intersects with climate change in marine populations. Will it ameliorate the effects of climate change by allowing populations to adapt to a shifting environment? Will only some species be able to adapt? Nobody really knows for sure, and there still hasn’t been much done on this topic in the literature. But my students’ job is to surf this literature and discuss it, synthesizing what they find on the wiki. This means that they work together, their grade is essentially based on participation and interaction, and at the end we might actually have an interesting, useful resource for learning more about evolution and climate change.

Anyway, this is all explained better on the site itself. It is a wiki, but only members of the class can contribute, so it is not an open community like Wikipedia. Nevertheless if you find it interesting there are places to comment, and I’m hoping this will be a fun thing to do this semester.