Stubbing out as a teaching tool


Our University-hosed wiki is about to be retired. This page, developed in Sept-Oct 2005 seemed work keeping. I’ve ported it here changing links to preserve the navigation. – np

Stubbing out as a teaching tool is one way to support constructivist thinking.

Somewhere in a learning experience, a question arises about a topic. It may be confusion over wording, varying perspectives, lack of knowledge (and/or skill), or a whole host of other reasons. The point is that there is a “hole” in understanding (can be individual but it is more likely to be a “hole” because of a lack of shared understanding). One example of a hole in collective understanding is the concept of jargon/shared language.

Once we discover a hole in our understanding, someone can stub it out in the wiki with the topic/controversy. When I was learning about discourse communities I posted this stub in Wikipedia to see if others would fill in the gaps. Other Wikipedia contributors, with more knowledge about discourse communities than I had, filled in the details (see history of the page). In this case, the stub was a simple definition of discourse communities taken from the discourse community literature. But a stub could be as simple as a title for an article or as complex as a complete article. The idea is to get something out there that others can interact with.

Interaction with the growth of the knowledge is key to learning. As learners engage in the construction of the knowledge, they become part of that knowledge. Stubbing (and engaging in) a wiki topic meets all three principles for promoting contextual knowing as outlined by Baxter Magolda (1996). She argues that we must “validate students as knowers,” situtate “learning in the students’ own perspective,” and “define learning as mutually constructing meaning” (p. 286).

The underlying power of the wiki is that it allows learners (students and teachers alike) to become part of the knowledge construction process.

For more on stubbing in wiki’s, see Stub in Wikipedia

Other posts that relate using wiki’s in the classroom.

Using Wikis for Learning

Wikipedia in the Classroom
Baxter Magolda, M. B. (1996). Epistemological development in graduate and professional education. The Review of Higher Education, 19(3), 283-304.

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