Virtual conferencing and wiki planning with "Team 5"

Who are we?

We (Rusty, Anna Liss, Emily and Beth) are "Team Five" in the online course High Tech Learning in the Fall semester 2008. This class is taught by Dr. Annette Lamb of Indiana University's School of Library and Information Science. This wiki was created as part of a team assignment.

Using technology to go beyond geographical distance:

Since the four of us live in such different parts of the state, we used several online technology tools to meet with each other to complete the assignment, including utilizing the message and forum features in the class Oncourse page, the Skype group chat feature, Google Calendar, and e-mail. We decided to use Skype as the tool to use for a group chat session because it was free, easy to download and use, and had some ideal features such as an ability to save chats. Our group members had varying levels of experience using Skype, so it was also an ideal choice because it allowed group members to learn a new technology or expand upon their experience with something they were already familiar with. Everyone downloaded and set up accounts, and from there chatting as a group about our project was simple! The group chatted through Skype once, has continued to communicate through the Oncourse messaging forum, and scheduled a second virtual chat via Skype prior to turning in the final assignment.

Picking a topic:

After organizing a time to meet synchronously using Skype chat, our first order of business was to come up with a topic idea for the wiki we were to make. Several ideas were discussed, and we examined pros and cons of using the wiki format to provide access to certain types of information and topics. Eventually we decided something we all had in common was that we lived in or were familiar with some towns that had fun festivals, so we decided to highlight some of these towns and their festivities, usually only known in the local area, with a wiki.

Topic rationale:

Many cities, towns, and regions in the Midwest (and throughout the world, but we chose to focus on the Midwest because of our own geographic location) have local traditions and festivals, only some of which have information readily available on the web. Local newspapers and word of mouth remain one of the best sources to find out about some of these festivals. Therefore, we decided to create a wiki space in order to highlight some festivals local to our own habitat(s) in the hopes that this could grow to encompass the entire Midwest region and become a useful online source for anyone who lives in the Midwest or is traveling to a region in the Midwest and is interested in attending some local events. With this in mind, we decided a calendar and maps would be key components of the wiki. Wiki pages about individual festivals would include information about the local area in which they took place, as well as a description of the festival itself. The U.S. Census Bureau includes the following states in the Midwest Region. We have chosen to include these 12 states in our list of local festivals:
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

Future direction for this wiki:

We hope that viewers of this wiki space will add on festivals local to their own hometown as well as information about their own hometown. Once this wiki space grows larger, we intend to do away with the listing of all festivals in the navigation bar on the left and just have links to all of our sites in our Home page and between sites.