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.


The Wacky, Wacky World of Wikis

An assignment for IT 780 (Seminar in Instructional Technology) was to create a group of 2-3 classmates and put together a wiki.  I have created a few wikis in the past so this was not a daunting task. 

Watch the below video, Wikis in Plain English from Commoncraft.  (This is one of my all time favorite videos.)

I joined two other IT 780 students, Donna Parker and Madelon Gruich.  We decided to create a wiki about places to visit in San Diego since Donna and I were going to attend the NBEA (National Business Education Association) conference which was held this year in San Diego.   Donna and Madelon created the wiki together using the free wiki software, Wet Paint and then invited me to participate.  They created some of the main categories such as Area Attractions, Sports, Dining, Night Life, Lodging and Transportation.  I then created a main category for Shopping (my favorite activity). 

Putting information into the wiki and creating new pages was fun and easy.  I came up with several types of shopping experiences to explore including, mall shopping, boutique shopping, outlet shopping and shopping in Mexico.  I added pictures of the various shopping facilities and the things one could purchase.  I also included a video about the adventure of shopping in Tijuana, Mexico.  Adding these things was also quite easy. 

 I use a wiki to assist in teaching my face-to-face classes as well.  I mainly use the wiki as an alternative to Blackboard since my students would have  to pay if I had decided to use the Blackboard learning management system.  I use the wiki to have class discussion and analyze cases for management classes.  I also use it to communicate and post class materials.    It was not until I completed the Destination San Diego wiki that I realized the true power of the wiki is in collaboration.  It allows many different people to modify and add content.  This only makes it better the more people who contribute and come up with innovative ideas and content.  For example, in the Destination San Diego wiki I contributed information and pictures of the great trolley system after being in San Diego and riding the trolley.  It was a great deal for $5.00 all day and the route was expansive.  The wiki allowed me to add this valuable information.  I also had the opportunity to add some content and photos from my trip to the San Diego Zoo after someone else had created the page for the zoo.  The power of a wiki is most evident from looking at Wikipedia, the largest wiki in the world.  Such a wealth of information on every subject imaginable continues to expanded and improved every day. 

 Click the link below to visit our wiki, Destination San Diego.  Add something if you would like, after all that is the idea of the wiki!!!

Destination San Diego Wiki