Everyone says that information is now a commodity and that what matters is what you are able to do with information. Almost any information (but not all) is only a few Google searches away. With that thought in mind, I designed a new assignment for my post-grad international business students.
This assignment requires my students to research and write about one of three current international business law issues. The assignment is up to 5 pages long and can be done either individually or groups of two or three. Nothing out of the ordinary so far.
Here’s the new twist. The research for each of the three topics will be done collaboratively using a “research wiki”. I set up a “research wiki” for each topic which is essentially an online discussion forum. Students are expected to post any thing they find that is a useful research source such as cases, legislation, articles, blogs, books, etc. All student have access to all of the content in the wikis. In preparing their assignments, students may rely only on research materials cited in the wiki for their topic. In other words, if it’s not in the wiki, they can’t use it.
I am very curious to see how this will work out. Will most students contribute to the wikis? Or will only some contribute and the rest get a free ride? Will there be a spirit of collaboration and community? Or will there be resentment and tension?