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Using a Wiki in Blackboard 9 

(for instructors)


Contents

  1. Before Beginning. . .
  2. Creating a Wiki
  3. Configuring the Wiki
  4. Organizing the Wiki: Basic Setup
  1. Making Changes to the Wiki
  1. Adding Multimedia Content to the Wiki
  1. Want to be notified of changes to the Wiki?
  2. How to delete and retrieve pages

Before Beginning. . .

Implementing a Wiki

What are your goals and expectations as an instructor using wikis?

Primarily, it is important to consider what the students are to achieve with the wiki because creating well-organized wiki structures will not be the only factor in determining classroom success. Students will need appropriate guidance and support to meet those goals and expectations.

   

Implementing a wiki is different from other written assignments or multimedia group presentations. Some level of technical support will help students be creative while allowing them to generate the content. Technical support will also help prevent frustration and last-minute difficulties.

Further Documentation

For further information about what a wiki is, why it is implemented, and how to introduce wiki sites into the classroom, please view our slide show Wikis in Beginning and Advanced Language Instruction.

        

Skim this document in its entirety before attempting to complete its steps.

Creating a Wiki

Select Blackboard location for the Wiki:  

  1. Select an existing Content Area button to build the Wiki under, and click on it

  1. Once inside the desired Content Area (in the picture below, the created content area is titled Wiki-licious), click on the More drop-down menu
  2. Click on Add Campus Pack Wiki

2.

3.

4. 

A prompt will appear to Create New Wiki or Link to an existing Wiki

New Wiki: starts a blank wiki

Link to existing Wiki: creates a link to a wiki that was previously created in your site

 

   

5. Click Submit

Configuring the Wiki

  1. Title the wiki (e.g. Wiki Knowledge)
  2. Provide a Description of the Wiki
  3. Check  Create Grade Book Entry and an entry for the wiki will appear in Blackboard’s Grade Center
  4. Create an Entry Name that will appear in Grade Center
  5. Provide the Points Possible or total points achievable for this assignment
  6. Checking  for Display Grades to Students will allow students to be able to access their grade within Blackboard when it is posted
  7. Click ADD after all the desired fields have been filled. Note: If Add is not clicked, all the wiki settings will be lost. Any of these configurations can be edited later.

The new wiki will now appear on the Content Area page selected in steps 1-3 in the section titled Select Blackboard location for the Wiki. Click View to begin modifying it.

Organizing the Wiki: Basic Setup

After creating a new wiki, a skeleton for the wiki should be created that will provide the organizational structure for the wiki pages that will follow. All the students' work/subpages will be linked to a Homepage created by the instructor. Consider the following example:

The figure below shows what the Wiki pages for this project would look like; the pages in the shaded area should be created by the instructor, the others would be created by individual students.

Groups of students should be working on different subtopics in the same Wiki. In addition to the content that these groups create together, each student should work independently on another page which expands upon the group topic. In Groups 1, 2, 3, and 4 displayed below, there are three students per group.

Instructor’s Actions:

Create four new pages, one for each of these groups to post their collaborative work — linked from the homepage.

Students’ Actions:

Ask students to create their own pages linked from each Group page.

Note: There are myriad ways to organize a wiki; the one provided above is merely an example

Getting around the Wiki

After accessing the new wiki, the right-hand menu serves as a control panel and map of the Wiki. From this menu, users can do the following:

        a. Add New Page

  1. Once the page structure has been created, the wiki is ready to have content added. Click on any page for example the Group 1 page. To begin adding content to the wiki, click Edit

c. Monitor students’ progress and contributions by viewing the History

d. Locking & Unlocking pages prevents/allows students to edit the page

Note: It’s important to have a consistent way of naming new pages to keep the structure comprehensible. Additionally, students will need explicit guidelines for naming new wiki pages to prevent unintended chaos

Making Changes to the Wiki

Everything described in this section is done in Edit Mode view in the wiki. Before beginning, be sure the Edit Mode view is turned on. If this button is in the off position, the wiki will be viewable, but nothing can be added or edited. 

  1. Click on the Content Area button where the wiki was created
  2. Click View

 

  1. Click Edit to make changes to the wiki page (see step b under Getting Around the Wiki)
  2. Most text-formatting toolbar buttons will be familiar. Select some text and play around

The buttons circled in red will be expanded upon in this document:

  1. Make whatever changes necessary to the wiki
  2. In the edit view, be sure to click  otherwise the changes will not appear in the wiki and will be lost

Inserting Accents

  1. Click Edit to make changes to the page (see step a in the section Getting around the Wiki)
  2. On the Toolbar Menu, click the  button

        

  1. A popup window will appear where you can select the appropriate accent by clicking on the special character you need

                 

Creating Links

Wikis can be navigated using the Site Navigation in the right-hand menu. Creating Links inside the Wiki pages themselves, however, makes a Wiki user friendly. Links are those clickable key words that take you to other pages within the wiki or to any outside media. They are usually highlighted blue and are underlined.

  1. Click Edit in the right-hand menu to make changes to the wiki page (see step a under Getting Around the Wiki)
  2. Type the text that will link to the new page (for example, the text in the diagram below reads Group #4)
  3. Select or Highlight the text as shown below

  1. Click the Insert Link icon:
  2. The Insert Link pop-up window is displayed below

-To Link to an Existing Page in the Wiki:

  1. Select the Link to an existing page option
  2. Select the page you wish to Link to from the list in the box (e.g. Group 4 page)
  3. Click Insert

-To Link to an External Link:

  1. Select the Link to an external web site option
  2. Enter the complete URL Address
  3. Click Insert

  1. Remember to click  otherwise the changes will not appear in the wiki and will be lost

Inserting Anchors

An Anchor is a "bookmark" to a specific section within a wiki page. The Anchor will correlate to a specific link in the text, so both the Anchor and the Link must be created.

The clickable Contents menu at the top of Wikipedia pages is an example of using anchors. The Contents section contains all the links. The anchors, although not visible, are located wherever the link takes you on the page. To view examples of Anchor use, explore the contents in UIC's Wikipedia page.

        In order to Link to an Anchor, the Anchor Points must first be created:

  1. Click Edit to make changes to a wiki page (see step a in the section "Getting around the Wiki")
  2. Position the cursor on the line where the Anchor is to be located
  3. Click the button shaped like an Anchor  near the Link button to bring up the Insert/edit anchor popup window

  1. Create an Anchor Name; this will be associated with the location of the anchor. This name will appear in the drop-down menu in step 9.
  2. Click Insert
  3. A little yellow anchor will appear on the page:  This will only be visible in Edit view
  4. The Anchor can now be linked. For more information on creating links, follow the steps 1-3 in the section titled To Create Links

  1. In the link popup window, Select the Link to an anchor option
  2. Select the Anchor created in steps 1-6 of this section from the drop-down menu located beneath Anchor Name
  3. Click Insert
  4. In the edit view, be sure to click otherwise the changes will not appear in the wiki and will be lost

Adding Multimedia Content to the Wiki   

A wiki is not an essay, but wikis provide an opportunity to paint a much richer perspective of a topic. In addition to text, wiki contributions should include images, video, and perhaps even audio content to make the wiki pages as interactive as possible.

Adding an Image

In general, it is best to not include an Image URL from an external website; most often the image does not display properly. Instead, save a copy of the image to a local computer, and then insert/upload it as described below:

  1. Click Edit to make changes to the page (see step a in the section "Getting around the Wiki")
  2. To add an image, like a photo of M.C. Escher's Drawing Hands, click on the Insert Image icon

This will bring up the Insert/edit Image popup window:

  1. Click the Browse Icon  located to the right of the Image URL field (circled above).

This will bring up the Upload File popup window as displayed below.

  1. Be sure the image that is to be uploaded is saved to the computer and is not being retrieved from a website. Click the Browse button and locate the image file on your computer. Then click Upload
  2. In the Insert/edit Image popup window, provide an Image Description
  3. Create a Title for the image
  4. Once all desired adjustments have been made, click Insert. The image will now appear in the edit view of the wiki
  5. In the Edit view, be sure to click otherwise the image will not appear in the wiki and will be lost

Adding an Audio Clip

This process can be used to upload any type of file, like an mp3 song or a PDF document. It will open/play in a new page within Blackboard.

  1. Click Edit to make changes to the page (see step a in the section "Getting around the Wiki")
  2. To add an audio clip, like a small portion of Beethoven’s 5th, click on the Upload File icon

  1. This will bring up the Upload File popup window
  2. Click the Browse button and locate the image file on your computer
  3. Once it’s selected, click Upload
  4. A link to your file will now appear in the wiki to be opened in a new window
  5. In the Edit view, be sure to click Save otherwise the changes will not appear in the wiki and will be lost

Adding an Video Clip

  1. Click Edit to make changes to the page (see step a in the section titled Getting around the Wiki)
  2. To add a video clip, such as a YouTube video, click on the Insert/Edit embedded media icon:

   This will bring up the Insert/Edit Embedded Media popup window

In the popup window, choose the type of media (for YouTube videos, select Flash)

4. Find the Source URL for the video clip:

On YouTube, underneath the video there is an Embed button. When you click it, a long string of code may appear (as in Pic. 1 below). 

  1. Paste this source URL from the top of your browser into the File/URL field in the Blackboard wiki Insert Media pop-up window: 

e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngRq82c8Baw

  1. Enter the Dimensions to set the size the video will be on the Wiki page. The dimension is in pixels, which if left unchanged will be the size of the original video.  Dimensions may be changed now or edited later
  2. Click Insert. In the Edit View, a yellow box will hold the place of the video
  3. In the Edit View, be sure to click otherwise the changes will not appear in the wiki and will be lost
  4. To change the size of the video window, while in Edit View, select the video. Either right-click and select Insert/Edit embedded media or select the Insert/embed Media button from the top of the Edit View window
  1. Be sure the Constraint Proportions box is checked
  2. Make either of the dimensions smaller, and then simply click the other. The Preview window will display the video’s new dimensions
  3. When done, click Update. The yellow box marking the video window will have resized to reflect the new dimensions
  4. Click Save at the bottom to see the page with the newly resized video

Uploading Files

Uploading a file into your wiki provides a link to the file rather than displaying it within the wiki. 

You may upload files such as:

In order to upload a file of any kind, follow these steps:

  1. Click Edit to make changes to the wiki page (see step b in the section "Getting around the Wiki")
  2. Click the icon next to the "Insert/Edit Image"


  3. An "Upload file" windows will appear. Hit Browse.
  4. Locate the document you want to upload 
  1. e.g. if you saved the document in the Desktop, browse to the desktop and select your document
  1. Back on the "Upload file" window, now click "Upload"
  2. Your document will appear in your wiki as a link

Note: Clicking on the document from the wiki page will prompt the user to download the file to be opened separately in their computer. The uploaded file, to reiterate, will not display within the wiki but will be downloaded instead

Want to be notified of changes to the Wiki?

1. Go to the content area where you created your Wiki and click View to open it

2. On the upper part of the screen, right above the name of your wiki there are options to click on, choose Subscribe (see picture below)

                                    

3. Once you click it a new window will appear with a check button that asks you if you would like to subscribe and receive periodic e-mails about the changes made to the wiki.

  

 

4. Check the button and click Save at the bottom 

How to delete and retrieve pages

On the right upper side of the wiki page, there are various options like Edit/ History/ Lock/ Delete.

  1.  To delete the page click the Delete button. A pop-up window will appear:

  1. Click Delete, if the page is to be marked as deleted, but it is still retrievable.
  2. Click Purge to permanently delete the page from the system, and then it will no longer be retrievable.

  1. To retrieve a deleted page: 
  1. Click the Page List button that is in the upper right corner of the wiki.

  1. A list with the existing pages will appear. At the top, click on the Show deleted pages check box.
  2. The deleted pages will now appear in the list. Double-click the page that needs to be retrieved.

  1. The page will now open. To resave it, click Edit. This will open the regular edit mode, then click Save at the bottom, and the page will be appear on the list of pages in your wiki. 

 


 Last Updated: 31 March 2011 CMA