Author(s): Merja Bauters
Affiliation(s): Metropolia UAS, Finland
Date of publication: April 7, 2016
The Educational Problem
Often it is hard to share all online materials (articles, sites, videos and blogs), which are distributed all over the net. It is hard to mark important issues in these materials or comment on and highlighting them so that students can be guided to think which information is shallow or even misleading and where the information is relevant and well-reasoned. It is also problematic to share good blogs, graphics and videos that are not directly related to teaching, but still might interest some students, since these kind of selections usually are gathered through a sustained period of time. Another problem that is persistent is thesis guidance. It would make sense to share same sources to a broader group of thesis writers.
The tool that can help for sharing interesting sites, blogs, articles, and videos is Diigo. In Diigo it is possible to create a group, and make the group private, shared with particular persons or public. When adding a page, site or video in the group, it gets shared, but so do the highlighting and comments one has placed there if these are marked to be shared. The others in the group see the highlighting and comments and if signed in, members can also highlight and comment the documents. If the group is public, everyone sees the highlighting and comments if they are signed in Diigo. Tagging the items that are shared allows filtering them in a group by selecting different combinations of tags.
For article writing it is possible to make “My Outliners”. One can add selected pages, blogs and videos to the outliner. If these selected items have annotations, they can be extended as text under the link title. It aids lightly the organization of the writing. However, this requires well-formulated comments in the items and well thought highlighting, otherwise it is not useful.
For the thesis writers, the possibility to start from a collection of sources could promote further sharing of the writer’s own sources, but also to start topic-related dialogue based on others’ comments with similar thesis topics.
The main experiences of Diigo are twofold. On the one hand, motivated students are delighted to have a bunch of selected, annotated, highlighted and commented materials. These students feel that they get a guided insight to the main ideas and selection criteria. It is sort of a guided tour to critical thinking and reading. The other part of students feel that there is too much material, too much to read and reflect on. These students seem to crave for straightforward steps to complete tasks and courses, not to read and then select best for them. It is clear that further development to support and guide the second type of students is needed. Some help might be achieved by adding tags and comments related to specific course and task.
Materials and Links
- Web address of Diigo: https://www.diigo.com/
- Official Diigo guidelines (get started)
- Diigo blog, tells more about extensions and new features