Meaningful Meanderings

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All About Wikis… April 17, 2010

Filed under: Teaching with Technology,Wiki — Christine Mark @ 8:25 pm

I read and reviewed two articles concerning the use of wikis.  They were; Use of Wikis to Support Collaboration among Online Students by Jay Alden and Wikibook Transformations and Disruptions:  Looking Back Twenty Years to Today by Curtis Bonk, Mimi Miyoung Lee and Meng-Fen Grace Lin.  I thought these two articles very thought provoking.  The following is a summary of the articles:

I think that any instructor considering using a wiki as part of their course could benefit from these two articles.  I thought the first one was especially useful.  The author gave a great example of students collaborating on coming up with five goals for a company.  I have been using a wiki to supplement my face-to-face classes and while the author was speaking about online students I could see where I could do something similar as far as a group project.  I also got some great ides in the section “To What Kinds of Student Collaboration Might a Wiki be Applied?”  I also really liked the idea of having the students come up with their own rules for how to settle disputes.  This in and of itself would be a great wiki activity. 

I was not familiar with wikibooks until I read the article in Chapter 8 of the textbook.  It seems to me that wikibooks are an expanded Wikipedia.  Rather than have one topic it contains several topics and subtopics.  I can see the value to this just as there is great value to Wikipedia.  Anything put together by means of diverse collaboration will be better that work done by an individual.  I think it would difficult to have a wikibooks assignment in a traditional course.  Semesters are fifteen weeks long and this does not seem like enough time to get students get acclimated to how the wiki works and  the rules for the wiki group and then be able to write, revise and edit a book.  The authors alluded to this when they said that there was still work to be done on the two wikibooks and they would welcome the public becoming involved.  By nature a wiki is not a static document but a rather dynamic one with the need for continuous revision and continuous improvement. 

As far as the future I think wikis are here to stay.  They are being used for collaboration in business, education and for personal ventures.  The cost is minimal and the benefits are many.


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