An analysis of third level interdisciplinary student learning outcomes using Wiki technology tools– an evaluation of Germany and Ireland University students.

Mary Dempsey, Paul Gormley, Ralph Riedel, Liam McDwyer

National University of Ireland Galway

Enhanced collaboration among multicultural European countries is necessary for effective enterprise development and innovation. The current climate of an increasingly challenging competitive global economy provides opportunities to explore alternative methods of enterprise sustainability including the creation of collaborative clusters of individuals working together towards a common goal. As such, the training responsibility for facilitating effective collaboration into the future rests mainly with the third level institutions. Students must be provided with opportunities that simulate real life scenarios. Students should be trained in how to collaborate with other European partner students working towards a common goal regardless of Host University. One method of providing European students the opportunity to liaise with each other, regardless of location, is offered through the use of Wiki technology. Combining various international teams from different cultural backgrounds enhances graduate expertise and develops a skills set for high end product and service innovation. Wiki technology and the facilitators provide the tools and the environment that enables students to contribute to a common purpose in a collaborative manner. The Internet based Wiki provides a many advantages including a platform for connecting students from around the world who can work together in a virtual way. These collaborative practice scenarios will provide opportunities to students to simulate real life decision making in many areas but especially in high value manufacturing and in research and development.
This initiative builds upon an EdTech2009 presentation that explored the implementation of Wiki technology as a teaching enhancement tool in the classroom in NUI Galway, Ireland. This paper examines the findings of the use of Wiki technology as a teaching enhancement collaborative tool in Chemnitz University, Berlin, Germany in July 2009 and presents comparative analysis findings between the Irish and German studies. This project stems from an existing Erasmus program between Chemnitz University and NUI Galway and which has been awarded funding under the Higher Education Authority cultural exchange programme.
Future work in this area includes internationalising the university classroom activities to facilitate on-line international team based student projects. From April 2010 a team of five students from five different countries worldwide will work together on a project forming on-line international wiki team (Ireland, Germany, Australia, China and the US). The analysis of this paper will identify group collaboration issues, system and technical boundaries, as well as identifying student and teaching lessons learned.

< back