SPIR608 Political Simulations and Gaming/2011/Evaluation

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Wiki in the lecture room

Introduction[edit]

This was a new 12 weekcourse on Political Simulation and Gaming run by Dr Richard Barbrook at the University of Westminster. Wikiversity support was given by Fabian Tompsett of Salamander Educational and Cultural Services, who has carried out the evaluation, which consisted of an initial questionaire of 14 students covering their interactions with Wikimedia websites (Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity Wikimedia Commons and other media wikis). This was followed up by another questionaire at the end of the course which resurveyed interaction with the wikimedia websites above and asked students to evaluate both the lecture structure and the wikiversity experience.

The lectures generally consisted of: A feed back discussion of the games played the previous week (½ hour), with the notes being written up on the wikiversity page live. As the course was focused on political simulation and gaming the amount of ICT support for using wikiversity was not extensive. A lecture covering material relating to the topic for the week (1hour) Playing one or more games (1½ hours) The course was on a Friday afternon 2 – 5pm, however on several occasions the students were so engrossed in the game they voluntarily stayed an extra 30 – 40 minutes. The course requirements involved the students reflecting on four of the games they had played, and working in groups to produce a prototype of a political simulation or game. All the students completed the course.

Evaluation of Lecture Structure[edit]

The course was innovative both in terms of placing gaming within a Political Science context and in its use of wikiversity. The evaluation of the course asked 15 students to grade the course as Poor – OK – Average – Good – Excellent as regards five aspects. Marking these 1 – 5 (with 5 as excellent) the following results were obtained:

Question Result

Reflections of games of previous lecture

4.4

Wikiversity notes on these reflections

4.2

Lecture

4.4

Game session

4.6

Overall

4.6

In this respect we can conclude that the students felt that the course was very beneficial. The course involved a high-level of student involvement and catered for a variety of learning styles. Some of the comments include “helping students grasp political concepts in the best way I have ever experienced. Hands on.”, “Great course! Lots of fun and learned lots!”, “The learning experience and the feedback process in this module is exceptionally rewarding”, “This course represents itself as a practical approach to learning. It is refreshing and should be carried on. As a student it is important to have a diversity of learning styles, and this course offers a different style of learning, which breaks from the traditional vocational studies.”

Evaluation of Wikiversity Experience[edit]

This evaluation also asked 15 students to grade their experience of Wikiversity as Poor – OK – Average – Good – Excellent as regards five aspects. Marking these 1 – 5 (with 5 as excellent) the following results were obtained:

Question Result

Introduction to wikiversity

4.1

Experience using wikiversity

3.5

Usefulness of wikiversity generally

3.8

Links and navigational aids on wikiversity

3.6

User interface of wikiversity

3.4

Public nature of wikiversity

4.3

The feedback here was more mixed. Students felt very positively about how Wikiversity was introduced and the public nature of wikiversity. However they were less sure about the experience . Although some students really enjoyed editing wikiversity, others had problems with User interface and the links and navigational aids. As regards the usefulness of wikiversity in general, this was seen as being moderately good. Comments revealed that students found Wikiversity helpful, even if they experienced some difficulty in getting the hang of it. It should be born in mind that the way the course was run, although there was a successful introduction to wikiversity, students would have appreciated more support and a more user friendly interface.

Development of student engagement with Wikimedia sites[edit]

Another aspect of the evaluation of changes in students knowledge and interaction with Wikimedia Sites. 14 students completed initial and final surveys on this. The results were as follows:

Wiki Visited (initial) Edited (initial) Visited (final) Edited (final) Account opened (final)

Wikipedia

14

2

14

3

5

Wiktionary

3

5

Wikiquote

2

4

Wikibooks

2

4

Wikisource

4

Wikispecies

1

Wikinews

3

Wikimedia Commons

2

2

Other media wiki

1

This shows that during the course there was a genral increase in exposure to wikimedia sites. What was particularly interesting is that 5 (36%) of the students also opened wikipedia accounts. In terms of gender, the sample consisted of 8 women and 6 men. However, of the 5 new account holders, 4 were men. This gender balance of self-selecting account holders reflects the overall male bias present amongst wikipedia account holders in general.