Discussion Boards, Blogs and Wikis

Differences between Discussion Boards, Blogs and Wikis



Discussion Forums are TOPIC centred.

  • discussions are organised into topics by ‘threads’
  • anyone in the community can start a thread on a topic of their choosing
  • all participants have an equal voice
  • posts require someone to reply for a discussion to take place
  • you can follow through a thread on a particular topic
Blogs are AUTHOR centred.

  • posts are made by the blog’s author only (may be a group)
  • posts are usually opinion pieces and written in the authors voice
  • readers can add comments to the author’s post
  • organised in reverse chronological order so the most recent posts show on the entry page
  • reflect the authors identity in the tone, look and feel and content
Wikis are CONTENT/DOCUMENT centred.

  • wikis are for group authoring
  • editable website with a complete version history kept
  • aim is to reach a consensus or compromise on the content of the page
  • the focus is the content produced, not the individual authors
  • usually neutral and objective
  • discussion/comment is separated from the wiki content


4 Benefits To Using Badges In Online Learning


greater autonomy for students, greater levels of feedback, and a variety of assignments.

More on badges in this blog:


In each of the classes for which I use badges I have 24 different badges that students can earn. Each one is a “micro-assignment” which asks students to apply some concept or set of concepts we are covering in the class. Students submit their responses and if they meet the badge criteria they earn the badge. When they earn a badge they receive the points for that in their grades and also receive a badge graphic uploaded to their own personal profile which only they can see. One feature I would like to incorporate is the ability to share these badges via their social networks but I am not sure about how this would work with regard to FERPA requirements. More research on my part is needed regarding this.

If the student does not earn the badge, they are provided with detailed feedback and allowed to resubmit to try and earn the badge. They can submit as many times as they want or need to in order to earn the badge. Students need to earn a minimum of 14 badges to earn a C in the course and 18 badges to earn an A.

no more MS Word; welcome mobile devices

Sorry, Microsoft! A Bunch Of Teenagers Just Talked About Doing School Work And None Of Them Use Word

“I’ll start typing essays on my iPhone’s Notes app,” one student said. Because of an Apple feature called “Handoff,” he can then pick up right where he left off on his computer.

online course design

From the LinkedIn discussion group Higher Education Teaching and Learning



Of course, not all aspects of online course design require a team of specialists, a longer development time, and more funding. Some things can be done quickly, cheaply and by individuals with focused skill sets.

But technology can, when built with a deep understanding of how students learn, meet both of these needs. We can build online courses that provide students with hundreds of opportunities to test their knowledge. Using scientifically-based learning analytics, we can provide each learner with immediate, context-specific feedback. We can build software that constantly responds to each student’s cognitive and educational differences and serves up activities that address these differences.

  • Michael Berta, Ed.D.Michael

    Michael Berta, Ed.D.

    Educator, technologist, researcher, and innovator in edtech, distance education, and faculty development

    “Placing the burden on lone educators with minuscule (or non-existent) funding and who are not hired for their strengths in instructional media development is neither logical, nor fair. But more to the point, it’s a lost opportunity to leverage high-quality course design to drive improvements in learning outcomes.”

    I could not agree more with this statement and the remainder of the article. I’ve long supported an instructional design partnership model where faculty occupy a leading role along with other professionals capable of making the interactions, activities, and rich-media meet the quality needs of an increasingly complex learning environment (and world).

  • Judith

    Judith Killion

    Editor at Individual Basis

    We need to start imagining new models for building, acquiring and sharing instructional media.

    This has always been an issue. My students love activities that provide them with immediate feedback. I spend extra hours building a wide variety of different activities into each Learning module. It takes time and effort and if I am going to address different learning styles that is an entirely different issue. To create effective interactive learning tools that will not waste my students time and will challenge their skill level consumes more time than planning for a face to face class with different activities. I would love to talk to someone-be able to explain what I want my students to learn, suggest a few interactive choices, and come back later to find age related learning activities that fit different learning styles.

  • Alex TolleyAlex

    Alex Tolley

    Owner, MyMeemz

    There is going to be a fight because this model is more like a business product that educators contribute to, rather than own. Perhaps this is the true industrialization of education, replacing the craft model of individual teaching with standardized, high quality product?

  • Maria LaverghettaMaria

    Maria Laverghetta

    Enrollment Advisor – Pearson Embanet

    I have forwarded this article on to members of the course development team within Pearson for their feedback. I am curious to see their impression of the article versus mine, considering I predominantly am a part of recruitment services for Pearson specifically. Within our academic partnerships platform, we do contend with faculty, should they employ our course development team, to this vein because the ownership usually rests with the instructor solely. Editing course content or abridging related material so that it could be received potentially as more either user-friendly or technologically savvy can be a source of major contention with faculty members. I do agree that this is an industrialization of education to an extent, but it also pushes the ownership of traditional education past the instructor, a predominantly sole proprietorship environment, to an completely different team effort. The natural technological growing pains coupled with role expansion and differentiation are also issues needing to be addressed as well.

  • Alex TolleyAlex

    Alex Tolley

    Owner, MyMeemz

    Suppose one was to take this seriously. What might such a course look like – for a subject like Biology? Could it be built on existing LMS platforms, or is a new platform required?

  • Judith

    Judith Killion

    Editor at Individual Basis

    I think that both individual ownership and team collaboration are important to the development of successful online learning. We (hopefully) use the concepts of group and team learning in our classroom environments. We should not be afraid to open ourselves up to some of the positive opportunities that could develop from participating in these practices. It does not mean giving up our ownership of content and presentation. I see it as a marketplace of choice where instructors can decide what kinds of activities, helps, prompts, extra materials, and resources they want to add to their class content. The choices could be categorized by learning styles or how they fit into learning paradigms. I think we must face the reality that some parts of education will have to be more industrialized than others just because of the delivery method. This does not have to be a negative issue if there are enough choices to help instructors develop the rigorous content they want to deliver without sacrificing their entire life to the project.

Early Learners’ Tech Use

‘Screen Time’ Alone Too Limited a Gauge of Early Learners’ Tech Use, Report Says


screen time as the sole measure of what’s OK for children is no longer adequate, the RAND researchers argue that screen-time limits shoudn’t go the way of the VCR:

Limits on screen time may remain important in restricting use that is passive, sedentary, or noneducational, and they may also prove useful in ensuring that children engage in a balanced combination of activities.

However, a more-comprehensive definition of developmentally appropriate technology use will empower ECE providers and families to make better decisions about the ways in which young children use technology–and help maximize the benefits young children receive from this use.

my note: information on Pinterest still goes the other direction. E.g.:
screen time

50 Shades of Mobile

50 Shades of Mobile


Smart phones (MLDs)

Math, Science, History: Games Break Boundaries Between Subjects

Math, Science, History: Games Break Boundaries Between Subjects


possibilities for a formal Renaissance-Man-Liberal-Arts education remain limited to the elite. The average, or common, student is encouraged to choose majors and institutions that track into a specialized vocation.

MincraftEDU and SimCityEDU provide flexible options for integrating familiar games with traditional classroom curriculum.

The ability to apply knowledge across disciplines is important, but it is not enough. It is important to combine that knowledge with strong social and emotional skills that serve as the foundation for good citizenship in the 21st Century.

The MindShift Guide to Games and Learning

more on gaming in this blog: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/?s=gaming

BYOD toolchest: 51 teaching and learning tools for mobile devices

The Epic BYOD Toolchest (51 Tools You Can Use Now)


Formative Assessment

Screencasting and Capturing What Happens in Class

Content-Sharing Platforms

  • Sophia: Nudged along by my friend Todd Nesloney, I use Sophia for my computer applications instruction and am very pleased with the results.
  • Haiku Learning: This is the full content management system that I’m trying to get our school to adopt. It’s multiplatform and robust, which makes it a great fit for our BYOD environment.

There are many other apps like MoodleCanvas, and Coursesites. The point is that you should have one in a BYOD environment.

Assessment Aids

All three of these apps — Quick KeyGrade Ninja, and WISE — are available on iTunes and Google Play, but there are more.

Electronic Note Taking


Students need multiple ways to share and express themselves, particularly verbally and with pictures. This is part of transliteracy.

Cloud Syncing

Graphic Design and Infographics

Color Selection



Written Expression

Link Sharing

More  (from the blog section)

If you’re working with multiple apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive, Evernote and need to search across them in one shot, take a look at Xendo (http://xen.do) – gives you a personal, private Google-like search across all your apps.

8 Interactive Video Tools for Engaging Learners