June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.1402.1 - 13.1402.14
Wiki-Based Learning in the Mechanical Engineering Classroom 1. Introduction
A wiki (derived from the Hawaiian word for quick) is a type of website that provides a framework for users to interactively and collaboratively build a database of interrelated information quickly and easily. Wikipedia1, currently featuring more than two million articles in English alone, is the most well known wiki, but wikis can also be targeted to smaller audiences, such as an engineering class. Lamb2, Parker and Chao3, and Elgort4 discuss the use of wikis in an academic environment. They provide an overview of the wiki concept, address common concerns about wikis (e.g., copyright issues, vandalism), and present some of the associated pedagogical challenges.
Our objective in this paper is to describe our specific experiences with wikis and teaching mechanical engineering classes. We will discuss our use of wikis in teaching a capstone senior design course and graduate courses in design optimization and small scale heat transfer. In all three courses, a wiki provides (i) logistical benefits to the instructor compared to a traditional web page, and (ii) an interactive and collaborative online- environment in which students can drive their own learning experience. In all three courses, the wiki is designed to grow in subsequent offerings, providing a basis and standard for future students. In addition to discussing the benefits of course wikis to both instructors and students, we will also describe the process of setting up and maintaining a wiki on a web server.
In keeping with the theme of wiki use for teaching and collaborative writing, this article was originally written by the authors on Professor Michalek's Design Decisions Wiki prior to publication with ASEE5. Other instructors with experience using wikis for teaching are welcomed and encouraged to contribute to this page, which will remain an active, dynamic resource for sharing experiences of wiki-based learning in the classroom.
Professor Michalek's Design Decisions Wiki (DDWiki) is located at http://ddl.me.cmu.edu/ddwiki. Professor McGaughey's Nanoscale Transport Phenomena Wiki (NTPWiki) is located at http://ntpl.me.cmu.edu/ntpwiki.
2. Wiki software
Most wiki software is open source code, and numerous wiki engines are available at no cost. The most popular one is MediaWiki6, the same engine used for Wikipedia. MediaWiki is written in the hypertext scripting language PHP7, incorporating a database management system. We choose and also recommend using MediaWiki to setup a classroom wiki for several reasons:
1. It has large-scale database capabilities and high operational reliability; 2. the installation and maintenance processes are simple and friendly;
McGaughey, A., & Michalek, J. (2008, June), Wiki Based Learning In The Mechanical Engineering Classroom Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3959
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