Using a Wiki to Share Undergraduate Student Project Ideas

MODULE TITLE: Management Practice 1
MODULE COORDINATOR: Dr. Linda Dowling-Hetherington
TARGET AUDIENCE: Part-Time Post-Experiential
Undergraduate Business Students

In semester one of the Bachelor of Business Studies, stage two students are required to complete a 10 ECTS project-based module, HRM2001D Management Practice 1.  This is the first time in the degree that these students are expected to select a project topic of their choice and to prepare a literature review on the topic in question.  Students also complete the follow-on module, HRM2003D Management Practice 2, in semester two where they conduct a small piece of primary research on the topic in their chosen organisation.

Following a face-to-face class briefing session in September, students are expected to prepare a project proposal setting out the topic they wish to examine, the rationale for choosing this topic and a brief overview of the available literature.  The process of selecting a suitable topic can be a daunting one for undergraduate students.  The process can often result in a number of iterations of a draft topic before a suitably refined topic is identified.  With this in mind, it was decided to use a wiki feature in the virtual learning environment to provide students with an opportunity to share their project idea with the rest of their classmates in advance of the submission date for the project proposal.  Wikis are a collaborative webpage that allows multiple users to create, edit and delete content quickly and easily without web authoring skills.  The topic ideas posted on on the virtual learning environnment did not form part of the graded coursework for the module.

At the start of the semester, the module coordinator created a table using the wiki.   Students were required to use the wiki table for two specific purposes:

  1. to outline their initial project topic idea; and
  2. to comment on the topic idea identified by one of their class members (students are, for example, encouraged to provide constructive advice on specific aspects of the topic that might be considered based on their own work experience in the area in question and also to recommend some readings on the topic that they feel would be useful to the student in question).

The wiki enabled students to share ideas and to make suggestions to each other that will assist them in refining their topic focus prior to the formal submission of the project proposal.  Below is an extract of three topic ideas posted by students (left hand column) and three comments made by other students on these topics (right hand column).