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Grant number like: HD-51431-11

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Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY 14850-7002)
Michael Bruce Smith (Project Director: March 2011 to May 2016)
Ali Erkan (Co Project Director: March 2011 to May 2016)

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants
Digital Humanities

[White paper]

$50,000 (approved)
$50,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2011 – 9/30/2014

Untangling the Web of Historical Thinking: What the Structures of Student-Produced Wikis Reveal

Curriculum design that incorporates a study to examine how students' use of wikis can help them reach and cross conceptual thresholds in their understanding of historical knowledge.

During the past decade, most educators have focused on the collaborative aspects of wikis and how they enable us to collectively create web content. Our focus has been different.We are interested in the ways using wikis to structure information helps students learn the complex thinking skills necessary for understanding history as a web of knowledge rather than linear. We are also interested in the information about how and when students cross concept thresholds made visible by the interconnections of the different pages in a wiki. Using Luminotes, a rudimentary, yet elegant open-source wiki, students can represent--and, we theorize, better understand--the ways that knowledge in the discipline of history is constructed. By the end of the grant period we hope to demonstrate that wikis can be broadly used as a powerful tool for structuring the rich, relational character of knowledge in history (and, potentially, other humanities disciplines) and for better understanding student learning.