The wiki for the introductory lecture on "Romance Linguistics" documents the active participation in the basic course A "Romance Linguistics" that dealt with terms, concepts and language examples mainly from French, Italian and Spanish in an overview lecture. The wiki was set up Blackboard-internally and invited students to take the first step of not just reflecting on the contents but to also deepen their knowledge independently. The topic could be chosen freely from all of the areas that were focussed on. The formal requirement was in presenting the chosen topic using up to 500 words (Illustration 1). 



Course title"Romance Linguistics"
Course typeLecture
Department/InstituteInstitute of Romance Languages and Literatures


Prof. Dr. Annette Gerstenberg
No. of participantsapprox. 100


Accompanying the lecture until its end


16 weeks


  • Wiki
  • Blackboard, the Romance Blackboard course on working academically was referred to


1. Task: At the start of the semester reference was made to the upcoming requirement that one had to pen an own text on one of the lecture sessions.  

2. Providing material: For every session Powerpoint slides including bibliographic information on basic required reading texts were provided. In some cases this also included essays, audio samples, text samples or links to linguistic resources in Blackboard. The wiki was referred to quite a number of times during the lecture.

3. Introduction to the topic choice: The students were invited to select a topic with the lecturer during office hours or after the sessions. General questions that cropped up in these discussions were shortly talked about during the lecture. 

4. Introduction to the method: In the lecture the introduction to propaedeutic tasks took half a session where mainly the focus was referencing the various different scientific publication formats as well as principles of citation. For details the students were referred to the existing Blackboard course on how to work academically.  

5. Supervision of task completion: Several students had technical problems that had to be dealt with. In a few cases general uncertainty became evident that led to the amending of the task posed within the wiki (Illustration 1).

Illustration 1: Wiki with the title "Active participation": Task 

6. Corrections: The wikis were checked as to their fulfilling at least a minimum standard. In a few cases editing work was required of the students, in cases where plagiarism was suspected possible sources were researched; this led to the course expulsion of one student. The support of a certified plagiarism finder software would have been of great help for this. 

Experiences made by the lecturer

The task was readily accepted by the students, also as a bridge between the reproduction of basics and a first delving into independent in-depth research as a preparation for taking part in the proseminar. The selected topic and the discussions on topic choice reflected the interests and questions of the students in the sense of a feedback to the lecture. Especially the literature work was difficult; not just in a formal sense but also with a view to the selection of non-citable texts such as study papers from the Grin publishers or didactic material of other university lecturers whose publications aren't available online. These observations led to corrections within the wiki posts and to didactic pointers. 

Further information

Support offered by CeDiS

  • Consulting services for the implementation of digital solutions in teaching: The Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS) has extensive experience of many years when it comes to the implementation of digital media and systems within the fields of teaching, learning and research. We offer a wide variety of consulting services on the implementation of these tools and systems within the entire academic scope and especially at Freie Universität Berlin. 
  • Training courses and workshops: For lecturers at Freie Universität Berlin (professors, employees, tutors) as well as lecturers of other universities CeDiS offers training courses and workshops on the topic of teaching and learning with digital media. These course enable participants to implement online elements within their own sphere of teaching.
  • The Executive Board of the Freie Universität supports e-learning initiatives: With the e-learning funding program financial resources are provided to lecturers that enrich and improve their courses quality-wise by implementing technological and media-related support. All of the academic staff teaching, the lecturers or even the institutions of the Freie Universität - without the Charité-Universitätsmedizin - can be supported within this program.