1950s-1980s Reflections

Nikki Brinkman

When I first saw this assignment I was extremely over-whelmed by the magnitude of this project! I had a difficult time trying to wrap my mind around "how" we were going to edit this wikipage while preserving the work of those in the second cohort who created it. This made me very uncomfortable! After meeting with Alma and Teresa, we came up with a plan in which we each agreed to divide up the decades to see what exactly was included in the wikipage and what needed to be added (or deleted) according to the syllabus.

When we met up again, we all agreed that our section of the wiki lacked uniformity from decade to decade. We also agreed that each decade lacked interactive links. We determined that the first page, post-sputnik from 1957 to 1959, was well organized and we decided that particular page was going to be the format for each of the other wiki pages in order to ensure the desired "uniformity" we had agreed upon earlier. Once we organized the other pages in this manner, we were able to easily identify the strengths and weaknesses for each page and started filling in the gaps with new information.

This assignment required the utmost collaboration with each member of the group in order to accomplish this assignment. Working with Alma and Teresa was a great experience! As a team, we accomplished what we agreed upon and when we sat down to edit the wikipage, each of us came prepared with all of the information that was necessary in order to make the desired changes. This collaborative effort made this project more manageable and enjoyable! It also helped that Alma made prior arrangements with the computer lab technician so that he could give us help and guidance along the way.

As we started typing, we all agreed that Alma and I would make the actual changes on the computer while Teresa guided us both on the changes and helped us add the interactive links to each decade. This system worked very efficiently! We were able to make 99% of the actual changes on the wikipage in one day because of the prior planning each one of us took in identifying changes and locating new information!

As a teacher and a student, collaborative projects are not always fun. Sometimes these types of projects are not based on a "collaborative" effort at all and ultimately become cumbersome if everyone does not contribute equally. As a teacher, I am hesitant to provide collaborative assignments which count a large percentage of my students' grade because I typically have students who complain about others in the group not contributing their fair share. This collaborative assignment was a positive experience for me thanks to my partners in the group!

Teresa Green

Our Wiki page came together beautifully as a collaborative effort. Nikki, Alma, and I began meeting and planning immediately after the assignment was made. We discussed strategies for completing the task and met again after classes and via a three-way phone conference to discuss the best of the old wiki content and our ideas for changes. Our final plan to do the “actual” changes to the page in one day, at Mercer in the lab, together as a team was great. Thankfully, I was working with a strong team! Nikki brought lots of creativity and Alma kept us truly focused on the continuity and content that complimented the project as a whole. They brought ideas from hours of pre-work before our workday. I feel that my contribution was that of searching for and finding ideas and sites that met with the predetermined goals of our team in adding to the interactive parts in each section and that our links would serve our page with value-added content, usable to educators that might find our wiki as a resource. Each of us had ideas that contributed to the final content and appearance and functionality of our product as well as ideas that resulted in the “if we had more time” list of things we would do to make it just a bit better. If we had more time we would have put our references into tables (like Toni). We finally had to make the final call of “done” after more than fifty plus hours of work.

I have to honestly say that this has been my least favorite assignment. I feel that while we learned some things, they were more focused on task specifics and manipulation of the wiki page than what I considered the valuable learning potential of the history of curriculum or towards our research papers. I would have much rather spent the time in collaboration around our research (the articles in the Contemporary Readings in Curriculum book and the A & E discussions) and getting feedback from a highly talented group of educators towards improving my skills in research and writing than manipulating a wiki.

Alma Mundy

As I reflect on this novel task of enhancing a wiki, two thoughts come to mind: required preparation and cooperative work. I will first elaborate on required preparation. This assignment demanded a thorough understanding of the era represented with a special emphasis on education. In preparing myself for the era, I used a number of resources - the original wiki, texts from past and current courses, and internet searches. I had to determine what was worthwhile and meaningful. Luckily, the original wiki captured most of the pertinent information needed. However, it lacked interactive activities. Therefore, our most vital contribution was in this area. Formatting preparation required examining and evaluating the original wiki so that ideas of how to enhance its presentation would be generated. It helped to dialogue with my group members because their critical insight established a framework of how to make changes. This framework was essential in preventing aimless efforts to enhance the wiki. Lastly, being prepared with how to make changes was of course critical. However, the least preparation effort was spent in this area because I didn't think it would be too complicated to edit on a wiki. In addition,we were sure to have an expert present with us as we made changes. This expert was extremely helpful because he provided a concise tutorial which allowed us to acquire the necessary skills to make the physical changes. Since we were adequately prepared, our efforts to enhance the original wiki converged effectively and efficiently. We listened to each others' suggestions and provided constructive feedback to one another. Our aims were common, but in distinct ways so that our individual work complemented one another. Our preparation allowed us to work cooperatively, meaningfully, and efficiently to produce and more useful wiki.