Keeping it Simple with Wikispaces Classroom

A big part of our focus for Wikispaces Classroom was making things easier. We removed features people weren’t using or got in the way. We made the layout cleaner, simpler, and harder to break. And we also exposed the powerful functionality we have under the hood in ways that make it really easy to do the things you want to do.

There are many different ways for a teacher to organize their digital classroom these days, from the bare minimum to intricate learning management systems. With Wikispaces Classroom, we wanted to give you what you love about Wikispaces — its simplicity and ease of use — along with an extra layer of management for the classroom that we hope you’ll find equally simple, for you and students alike. This first thing you’ll notice is the overall theme change — there is a standard background, settings bar, and navigation bar to make it easy for your students to focus on their work and for you to focus on them.

Organizer Bar

Organizer Bar

The Organizer Bar lets you access Members, Settings, Projects, and Assessments.

We’ve taken the settings you most care about as a teacher and put them at the top of each Wikispaces Classroom page so you can access these controls whenever you need them. These used to exist in the right-hand navigation bar, now you can access the most important aspects of managing your wiki — Members, Projects, Assessment, and Settings in a way that is separate from your pages. And when students log in, they don’t see this bar, meaning they can just focus on the Pages and Projects they are working on.

Navigation Bar

The Navigation Bar has always been the hub for access to all of your Wiki pages. In Wikispaces Classroom, we’ve pared it down to be just what you need. A link to your News Feed will always be on top as the central location for up-to-the-minute information on your wiki. Below that, you’ll see a collection of your Pages, which you can now organize even more. Just click and drag up and down to reorder, or click “Edit Navigation” to turn off “All Pages” and use Tags instead. However you use it, you’ll notice it’s designed to help you focus on just your important Pages.

Navigation Bar

The Navigation Bar now only features News Feed, Pages, and Tags.

Settings
We’ve taken all the functionality of the old Manage Wiki area and renamed it Settings with a whole new look and feel that’s cleaner and more intuitive. Not only do you access it on the top Organizer Bar, but now you can quickly move between each section of the Settings area from one page. We think you’ll find it much simpler to use.

Settings

Settings is now more streamlined and easier to use.

We can’t wait to see how you and your students use Wikispaces Classroom, and we think these changes add up to a whole new experience that allows you to focus on engaging your students and improving their outcomes. Learn more about Wikispaces Classroom at one of our upcoming webinar tours, and join our Twitter #wclassroom Challenge online this month, sharing your Wikispaces Classroom with the world. Simply Tweet a link to your site with #wclassroom today.

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16 Comments

  1. Posted April 20, 2013 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    It might be interesting to include a preformatted deployment of the list of student names and emails in the invitation form. In my experience, the “textarea” form element understands nicely a copy-paste form (and to) excel regions (even complete columns range). Column elements are separated by tab and rows by linefeed.

    It is very common for teachers to have this type of lists for the class. The server could even detect which column contains the names and which the emails. Then, the teacher could work with the whole list in the wiki, even before all the students make the registration.

    Here is an example of a copy-paste from excel:

    C1 C2
    Name One name.one@school.com
    Name Two name.two@school.com

  2. Posted April 21, 2013 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    Very instructive.

  3. wendy
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    Thanks Christine! Let us know how it works for you!

  4. Posted April 21, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Any chance that you could add a widget for http://www.teachingchannel.org under your video widgets. I tried putting the embed code from the site into the “other” video widget box, with no success; then tried it using the youtube and teachertube widgets – also wouldn’t work. The instructions from http://www.teachingchannel.org are for me to just insert it in my html code, but I haven’t yet found how to do that in wikispaces. I would appreciate any help you can give me. I could always just post a link, but for this particular video I’d rather make it VERY easy for our teachers to view it.

    Here’s the embed code from http://www.teachingchannel.org

    Thanks!

  5. Reed
    Posted April 22, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I’m not having any luck dragging and dropping my navigation links to rearrange them like I used to be able to do. Any word on why that has stopped working and/or how to get it working again?

  6. Posted April 22, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    If I change my current wiki to try out the wiki classroom and I decide I don’t like it and want to revert back can I?

  7. Jim Dunnigan
    Posted April 22, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    We have been using Wikispaces with our graduate students for several years. While I like the classroom version, it presents a more full-blow LMS than we need. Here is my dilemma- when you sign-up for wikispaces it seems to push you into the LMS/Classroom version. It seems the only way to get to the plain/vanilla “old school” wikispaces is to signup as a “regular individual user”. Is that correct?
    If you do so, how do you ever access the classroom/LMS features if you later want to create a wiki that has these capabilities? I teach graduate students who are going to be teachers but I want to ease them into wikispaces -not present a full-blown LMS day one.
    How do I do this?

    Jim

  8. Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Reed, we changed things so that you have to click “edit navigation” now and then drag links to rearrange them. We found people were accidentally rearranging links too often so this seemed like a better solution.

  9. Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    carpenitom,

    Yes, you can.

  10. Sue
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    Hi, I cannot find the recycle bin under this new system. I am an organiser of my Wiki. How do I access this feature now?

  11. Reed
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Adam. I tried it, and (of course) it works perfectly. I agree that it’s a good change (as it will indeed help prevent any accidental rearranges). Thanks for the quick reply.

  12. wendy
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Hi Sue, with Classroom, you’ll need to go to “Filter by Status-Deleted” to get your Recycle Bin. Thanks!

  13. wendy
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Hi Jim, if you select “Education,” it will prompt you into creating a Classroom. If you don’t want the extra features, you simply go to “Settings” and switch to “Basic Wiki.” Likewise, if you later want the features, you turn the wiki back into a “Classroom” under Settings. We appreciate your feedback and please let us know more as you try with your grad students. A good start is to simply use the Newsfeed with them as a communications device if you’d like to ease them into it.

  14. Posted April 26, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Alberto, good idea. We’ll get that feedback into our feature request list. That’s also pretty much how our Bulk User Creator works already, which is what many teachers use to provision their student accounts.

  15. Posted April 29, 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    I want to be able to edit the navigation so that I can have a list of key pages in the Wiki. I do not want all pages as there are too many in the WIKI. Previously you could edit the navigation to include links to specific pages. How can I create a navigation element that I can edit?

  16. wendy
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Hi Mr. Brooke, if you go to “Edit Navigation” and turn off “All Pages,” you can then just organize your pages by tags (i.e.tag the pages you want for History under History, and then turn on the History Tag to reveal all of them.) Let us know how it goes!

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