Written by Scott Hamm
Word clouds (Wordle) are those fun & familiar combinations of words that summarize a topic or idea. We’ve seen everywhere from the USA Today to Facebook. They can be used to promote reflection and synthesis on course content. Here’s how:
Syllabus review: have them submit a Wordle to a discussion forum posting the top 10 key concepts.
Markers: key issues, policies, theories, etc. from the first three weeks of class, or mid-semester, etc. Let’s you know if the students are grasping course concepts.
Quiz: A fun quiz is to have students post key terms, concepts, ideas, etc. You can set a ten to twelve entries. Then, have them get together in groups or as a class to add to the Word Clouds. Non-threatening and many enjoy the variation.
More ideas/ resources:
This linked blog post gives you a bunch of word cloud options that includes a how-to-use snippet: 9 Word Cloud Generators That Aren’t Wordle
A brief one-page article demonstrates the use of word clouds in an online graduate class: Hamm, S. (2011). Using Word Clouds for Reflection and Discussion. Journal of Teaching Theology and Religion, 14 (2).