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Using Wikis And Weblogs To Support Reflective Learning In An Introductory Engineering Design Course

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Teaching Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1438.1 - 10.1438.10



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Paper Authors

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Tori Bailey

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Jonathan Gabrio

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David Cannon

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Helen L. Chen

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George Toye

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Larry Leifer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Using Wikis and Weblogs to Support Reflective Learning in an Introductory Engineering Design Course

Helen L. Chen1, David Cannon2, Jonathan Gabrio, Larry Leifer2, George Toye2, and Tori Bailey2 Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning1/Center for Design Research2 Stanford University, USA


An observation and a pedagogical challenge often found in project-based design courses is that students see what they have produced but they do not see what they have learned. This paper presents preliminary findings from an NSF-sponsored research project which experiments with the use of weblogs and wiki environments, two open source tools, to facilitate student integration and synthesis of learning in Designing the Human Experience, an introductory freshman seminar on design engineering at Stanford University. Coupled with Folio Thinking, a coached process of creating learning portfolios and supporting reflection, this study explores how the combination of this innovative pedagogy along with these new forms of social software can positively influence students’ knowledge, awareness, and skills in design engineering.

Weblogs and Wikis

Social software designed to support group interaction has evolved, since the appearance in the 1960s of multi-user computers and networks, in a variety of forms such as multi-player games, chat rooms, instant messaging, and bulletin boards. More recently, weblogs (or blogs) and wikis (web pages that any user can edit) have captured the imagination of members of both the corporate world and higher education community as valuable knowledge management and group communication tools. Schofield (2003) suggests that the rapid rise of interest in software to support group interaction can be attributed to an emerging web-based platform based on blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds (a format for syndicating news and content), on ease of use, and on the ubiquity of web access.1 In the professional and personal worlds, social interactions increasingly occur and move fluidly between virtual and face-to-face environments. This is particularly true for today’s college students who have been described by Prensky (2001) as “digital natives” of the world and languages of computers, video games and the Internet.2 Higher education is only now beginning to explore the potential educational value of blogs and wikis as a means to promote deeper learning and integration of learning experiences from inside and outside the classroom (Williams & Jacobs, 2004).3

Folio Thinking and Reflection

Folio Thinking is an instructional method grounded in the process of students creating learning portfolios. Learning portfolios are purposeful collections of artifacts that represent the learning experiences of the portfolio owner, who might be an individual or a group of individuals—students, project teams, faculty, an academic program, or an institution. The Folio Thinking pedagogical approach is designed to enhance self-awareness by enabling students to make their knowledge explicit and visible for themselves as well as for others. Folio Thinking

Proceeding of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Bailey, T., & Gabrio, J., & Cannon, D., & Chen, H. L., & Toye, G., & Leifer, L. (2005, June), Using Wikis And Weblogs To Support Reflective Learning In An Introductory Engineering Design Course Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14895

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