Fixing Broken Wiki Links

In this week’s Agent L episode, Gremlins in the System (GITS) try to undermine student collaboration by breaking links to wikis in myLesley courses. It’s Agent L to the rescue.

BenBen Friday: Agent L, it’s a disaster. GITS agent, NeoLuddite, has broken all the links to course wikis in myLesley. Look…

Error: Broken Course Link: Item does not exist in the system. The specified object was not found.

Agent L: What does he hope to accomplish?

Ben: NeoLuddite thinks technology is going to ruin education. By corrupting links to the wikis,  he hopes to stop students from collaborating online. We can’t let him win.


Agent L: Letting NeoLuddite win is not an option. The wiki links can be fixed.

Ben: How?

Agent L: It’s easy, Ben. We simply delete the old link to the wiki and create a new one.

Ben: But won’t that delete the wiki?!?agent L

Agent L:
Not at all. The wiki is still there with all the students’ work. We just need to
recreate the link to allow them to find it again.

Ben: How do we do that?

Agent L: Simple. Let’s go into a course and I’ll show you.

First, let’s delete the bad link. Click on the small gray arrow at the end of the wiki title and select Delete from the menu.

course wiki link     deletelink

Remember, this is only deleting the link, not the wiki.

Now, we can recreate the link. go to the Tools menu and select Wikis.

Tools menu

Select Link to Wiki to choose to create a link to an existing wiki and select the name of the wiki from the list. Then click Next.

select wiki link

Add a description or instructions for you students and click Submit. That’s all there is to it.

Ben: It’s working. I can access the wiki and see everyone’s contributions. It’s all there.

Agent L: Of course. NeoLuddite can’t get the best of us. We have technology at our disposal.


agent LSee the complete instructions at the Agent Support Site.  

myLesley Blogs, Journals & Wikis, Oh My!

Did you know that myLesley has its own built-in set of blogs, journals and wikis? They’ve been around for a while, but with the latest myLesley update now is a great time to take another look.

Blackboard blog

What’s so great about Blackboard blogs and wikis?

Faculty who have already switched over to these built-in tools have found them to be far easier to use and set up. This is especially true if you create individual blogs for your students. Now there’s no need to manually set up a separate blog for each student. Just create your blog, click a single button (Individual to All Students) and Blackboard will automatically take care of the rest. Note: If you select the Course option all of the students will post their entries to a shared single blog.

individual blog setting

Blackboard blogs, journals and wikis have the same text editor as the discussion board so your students do not need to learn a new tool. Adding images and media is far more straightforward and obvious and because theses tools are native to the Blackboard environment, they have access to all the Blackboard tools. This includes the ability to easily add and/or record video with Video Everywhere, recording audio with Voice Authoring and integration with the Grade Center.

What you need to know?

All Blackboard blogs, journals and wikis are private to your course and can only be accessed and viewed while you and your students are logged into myLesley. This set-up fully complies with FERPA regulations. This privacy feature also means that you cannot copy blog or wiki content to another course.

If you have created a template for a wiki assignment, we recommend that you set it up in another course, such as a development shell or your myspace (aka Faculty Demo Student Account). You can then manually copy and paste the pages of the wiki into your new course. You could also create a Word document with the structure of each page and save it with your other course resources. This may seem a little more cumbersome than simply copying the wiki from course to course, but it’s easier than having to delete all the pages and student comments from last semester’s wiki assignments in order to start with a clean template.

Where to find out more info?

Please review the support pages below for more info on how to set up the tools, create and edit content, and grade student work.

Blackboard Wikis
Blackboard Blogs and Journals

Group Project in Management Decision Making and Problem Solving

In Matthew Puma’s online course, Management Decision Making and Problem Solving, students take part in a course-long group project focused on real-world problems. Students use a variety of tools to support their project work: private discussions, team wikis, and mind-mapping software and other tools. The instructor has carefully scaffolded project work by distributing the project across modules, including the use of multiple milestones and a wiki for transparency of student work.

(For more information about the project, click on the above image)

Course objectives targeted by the project:

  • Apply decision making and problem solving tools to real problem situations and recognize which tools are appropriate to apply to specific stages in decision making processes.
  • Apply a variety of tools for representing problem situations, including visual diagrams and question frameworks and recognize the central role of problem definition in successful problem solving practices.
  • Apply a variety of tools for evaluating alternative solutions, including quantitative (weighted value, decision trees) and discursive (pros/cons, dialogue) approaches.
  • Develop judgment regarding the use of problem solving tools in systematic problem solving situations, recognizing various types of problem situations and the tools that are most appropriate for each.
  • Develop habits that embody reflective practice for the application of thinking tools and that sustain ongoing systematic improvement in decision making.


Freedom Curriculum Debate

debate on wiki


Author: Ben Mardell, Lesley University

This example from Early Childhood Education shows the structure of a debate using a class wiki as the location where the debate will be posted. This debate activity has three parties– Groups A, B, and C. The instructor has representatives from two “sides” of a position post their substantiated claims to the wiki; Group C delivers questions and an evaluation of the other groups’ arguments.


Designing Motivating Scenario-Based Wiki Activities

The following webinar was presented via TeachU Ohio and features Dr. Jan Schmittauer’s presentation of an engaging blog and wiki based activity surrounding the novel Testimony by Anita Shreve. The students’ ultimate goal is to determine which of six character should be held the most accountable for the death of a student in the story. Via blog posts and group work in team wikis the students then proceed to whittle down which person they feel holds the most responsibility for this tragedy via debate and textual evidence from the book. Each day another character is “voted off the island of accountability” until only one remains. A final blog post, at the end of the process, allows students to reflect on whether or not their initial perception has stayed the same or changed. Click here to watch the webinar and learn more. You can also download a copy of the presentation.