Monday, May 21, 2007

2D Foundations Open Source Textbook

Last year I began to contribute to the open source textbook wiki Intro to Art at the Wiki Books site. The idea of using an open and editable textbook fits neatly into the goal of student engagement that the Polychronic classroom aims to achieve.

For my summer 2007 2D Foundations course at BGSU I have assigned a project in which my students will write the textbook for the course. Using open information from Wikipedia, dictionaries, and in class lectures groups of 2-3 students are assigned a topic page. They must add text, examples, and relevant links.

The exercises and assignments the students complete will also be used to illustrate elements and principles of 2d art at work. Look for more illustrations to be added as the semester rolls on.

When the wiki is complete, the students and I will move the information from our free and open wiki text to the wiki book site where more contributions may be made from the general public. For now, however, our site may only be edited by my students.

How well does this project engage the students? How has interaction with the text, rather than the normal one way transfer of information, changed or modified their learning process? Do different roles (adding text, finding links, adding or creating illustrations) fit different students? These are questions this project aims to answer to determine the role of the wiki, or interactive editable and open textbook, in the classroom.

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