Mediawiki + Students = TeX’d Lecture Notes
I’ve gone on–and–on about wikis in the past, and so I was very happy to see (via OpenWetWare) a very nice article in the May 08 issue of MAA Focus by Ethan Duckworth (see page 17). Dr. Duckworth describes how he set up a -enabled wiki for his abstract algebra course to have his students take turns to tex up lecture notes. Considering that turning ones lecture notes into books has become all the rage these days, I’m surprised that more aspiring lecturer-authors haven’t used their students to contribuet to the writing process.
In addition to providing an instant transcription of your lectures, students can use the wiki’s built-in discussion pages to offer opinions about sections that weren’t clear. Having the wiki open to the entire course also allows students to fill in gaps and correct mistakes. The process of creating a set of notes also forces the students to think about the subject in a pedagogically helpful way and is more exciting than traditional coursework. (Though it’s certainly not a replacement for problem sets.)
I should probably note that this is a system that lends itself more to the American-pedaogical style rather than the UK/European style since it relies on regular and collaborative coursework.
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