Laboratory reports have traditionally been the primary deliverable for students enrolled in the unit operations laboratory course. These reports are typically comprised of several sections that emulate the format of a traditional scientific publication. Because these documents can be very lengthy, it is time consuming for educators teaching this course to read and assess the work. To this end, a wiki system was implemented wherein students can collaboratively contribute to the body of knowledge pertaining to a particular experiment. This wiki is comprised of four parts: 1) “Background”, which focuses on industrials applications, 2) “Theory and Equations”, which highlights important definitions, principles, and equations pertaining to the experiment, 3) “Technical Notes”, which provides a venue for sharing experimental details to subsequent groups, and 4) “Other” for facts/details that do not directly belong under the three aforementioned headings. Students are assessed on the impact of their contribution, as well as a final exam based on the material in the wiki. The benefits are as follows: 1) students are placed in an environment that encourages collaborative learning, 2) a final exam ensures that all students understand the experiments (not only the group leaders), and 3) the jigsaw approach provides student satisfaction on the personal level for contributing to the class’ knowledge.
Note to reviewer: A survey will be distributed at the conclusion of the course, recording student opinion on their experience with the wiki. Thus, the results are not currently available. However, students have articulated a positive experience overall.