A wiki is a system of inter-connected web pages linked to each another and to internet resources. Wikis have found wide acceptance in Corporate America and are redefining knowledge creation processes in many industries (Wagner & Majchrzak, 2007). However, their academic use, as collaborative learning tools, has been limited. Robertson (2008, p 249) predicts that mainstream use of wikis in education is “…two to five years away.” Not surprisingly, in 2008 (when our efforts began) wikis were a novel technology on the UNT campus. To that extent, we were pioneers of this technology. Thanks to grants received from UNT in 2007/2008, we developed learning modules for the wiki. The wiki-enhanced transformation was completed and the course rolled-out in Spring 2009.
Our experience with the wiki has been good. We tested and found empirical evidence that the wiki enhances learning in the capstone course. This has encouraged us to continue the use of wiki technology in the capstone course. To the best of our knowledge we are the only business schools in the country to implement and confirm the value of using wikis in a business program.
While the inclusion of wiki technology in the business capstone course has helped enhance student learning, students continued to struggle through the first seven weeks when the complex process of business integration is introduced. Hence, in fall 2009 we decided to experiment with an electronic audience response system, or “clicker” as it is commonly called. Clickers offer a management tool to engage students and are particularly useful in large classroom settings. What is most important is that clickers seems to make the lecture a “fun” experience (Caldwell, 2007).
The decision to use clickers was implemented in fall, 2009. Student reaction to clickers was strongly positive. Therefore we developed and institutionalized a structured approach to using clickers in the business capstone course in spring, 2010. Encouraging preliminary results are already trickling in. Student performance on the two tests in that semester was higher than prior semesters. In prior semesters, the average grade on the first test varied from 60% to 70%. This semester the average grade of students was closer to 75%.
Our efforts to, (1) move to large sections, (2) use a wiki that enhances collaborative learning, and (3) use clickers to improve student engagement, have realized significant dividend. We have built an effective learning environment in the capstone course that consistently delivers an impressive display of student competencies at the Integrated Business Case Competition.