My Wiki for my MDE

My wiki. My favourite artifact.
Stephen Downes. He inspired me to share even though I was a beginner and to continue to share even when it was difficult to do so.
Stephen Downes. He inspired me to share even though I was a beginner and to continue to share even when it was difficult to do so.

At first, I started this wiki for myself--a place to keep my notes where I had access to a search engine and it was also a place where they were 'safe' up in the cloud. I didn't really think of sharing my notes with others or even that if someone found my notes I didn't think that they would be useful, as I am just a novice in the subject areas presented in this wiki. However, one day I was inspired while watching Web 2.0 and Your Own Learning and Development by Stephen Downes What Stephen Downes said really resonated with me "It's hard for other people to share what they know with you, if you're not willing to share what you know with them. Interaction is the sort of thing a lot people say, 'well... I just don't have time... it takes too long.' But really, you have to make it a priority, you have to make it a habit, you have to make it the sort of thing you do automatically every day" (time: 5:55). So I made a decision right then and there that every day I would make the time to make notes on what I was learning to share. Yes, even though I was a 'beginner' at what I was learning and sharing, I still shared. I knew that there was other 'beginners' out there that may find my notes useful. (1.1, 1.2, 1.6, 3.1, 3.5, 4.1, 5.7)

When I started to make notes in my wiki I realized that when I had been creating notes in my moleskin journals, I was ignoring that fact that I didn't understand everything that I was writing down. It was so easy to avoid digging deeper into difficult concepts or concepts that I couldn't fit into some overarching theme. When I started to add notes to my wiki, I felt rather nervous as it was open for everyone to see. I felt that if I added something to my wiki that I didn't fully grasp, someone out there would/could notice and they would know that I was just skimming over a topic--how embarrassing. This openness in my note taking and my feeling of scrutiny by others pushed me on to dig deeper, to find connections that I wouldn't have normally found, and to explore tangents for days at a time to connected everything together in my head. It was fun. It was challenging. It was time consuming. It was rewarding. So much of my learning would have never happened if I hadn't started taking notes out in the open for all to see. (2.5, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 5.8)

In the process of learning the material for my MDE, I have complied vast amounts of notes and I have included graphics or videos that I helped me along this journey. I have created many diagrams in order to help me synthesize ideas and discover overarching themes. Not only did I add notes to the specific course that I was currently taking, but when I found information that helped me understand information from prior courses, I would add it to the notes for these other courses and thus creating a robust set of course notes. (4.2, 4.8)

For four years, while taking my MDE, I have shared all my notes with others and through this sharing I have met a few Athabasca University students who were willing to share with me (some even joined my wiki). However, most times, I never met the others with which I have shared. Every once in a while, I would review my wiki analytics that showed my fellow students visiting my wiki again and again, which pages then spent the most on, how long they spent on each page. (4.4)

People who view my wiki.jpg
This screenshot shows the location and frequency of visits of my wiki visitors, which live in Canada.

I feel like I made Stephen Downes proud. I did it. I made time to share. I made it a habit. Sometimes the workload was such that it seemed like I couldn't continue with the wiki and continue to share with others, but I figured out ways to keep it a part of my studies. I stopped reading the newspaper. I stopped using Twitter. I stopped watching television. Did I become unbalanced? My husband would say yes. And now that I am finished my MDE coursework, and have more time to breathe and objectivity, I would have to agree with my husband. I was committed and dove in deeply and had a thoroughly crazy ride. (6.5)

Note: Discuss competency 5.11 in the presentation of this portfolio.


Link to artifact:

Related Competencies

1. Problem Solving, Analysis, & Decision Making
1.1 Recognize problems.
1.2 Define the aspects of problems.
1.6 Compare alternatives.

2. Instructional Design & Development
2.5 Develop instructional products or learning objects in distance education.

3. Communication Technologies and Networking
3.1 Use a variety of communication and document sharing tools to create, reflect, and communicate with others.
3.5 Apply these technologies in distance education and in real-life instructional contexts.

4. Communication & Interpersonal Skills
4.1 Write clearly and in a style appropriate to purpose (e.g. assignments, essays, published documents, and theses).
4.2 Construct coherent arguments and articulate ideas clearly to a range of audiences, formally and informally, through a variety of techniques.
4.4 Support the learning of others when involved in teaching, mentoring, moderating, or demonstration activities.
4.8 Organize, and convey your ideas effectively through a range of communication skills and work collaboratively and in teams.

5. Research
5.3 Access and critically evaluate sources and content for quality, applicability and relevance.
5.4 Critically review literature both broadly and in-depth.
5.5 Formulate questions and reasoned arguments, leading to rational conclusions.
5.6 Summarize and synthesize information with a view to pursuing deeper understanding.
5.7 Effectively communicate information, arguments, and analyses in the discipline of distance education, in a variety of forms, to suit different contexts and audiences.
5.8 Critically analyze the issues and discuss the wider implications affecting the use of information.
5.11 Describe and adhere to ethical practices and institutional policies throughout the research process.

6. Management, Organization and Leadership
6.5 Manage workload, other commitments, and information needs within time and structural constraints (in both personal and team management situations).