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Wikis in education A brief introduction by Sylvia Moessinger.

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1 Wikis in education A brief introduction by Sylvia Moessinger

2 01.01.2011 2 Sylvia Moessinger Wikipedia was founded 2001. Jimmy Donal Wales and others helped launch Wikipedia, a free, open content encyclopedia that enjoyed rapid growth and popularity. While wikis have been around since 1995 when Cunningham developed the first wiki, WikiWikiWeb, they became hugely popular circa 2003.

3 What are Wikis? Website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified mark-up language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Reference: A wiki is a web page, or set of web pages, which you can create using a web browser without having to know the programming language (HTML) used to create web pages. A wiki starts with a start page, to which each author can add other pages. Reference: A wiki is a group of web pages that allows users to add content, similar to a discussion forum or blog, but also permits others (sometimes completely unrestrictedly) to edit the content. Wikis encourage cross-linking and are dominantly spatial in structure. In comparison with collaboration tools such as blogs, forums and VLE (Virtual Learning Environment), is that there is no inherent structure hard-coded into wiki technology: wiki pages can be interconnected and organised as required, and are not presented by default in a reverse-chronological, taxonomic-hierarchical, or any other predetermined order. 01.01.2011 3 Sylvia Moessinger

4 Which wiki tool/service? 01.01.2011 4 Sylvia Moessinger Google docs, sites Wetpaint - Wikidot – Wikispaces -

5 Ideas and examples for wiki use 01.01.2011 5 Sylvia Moessinger ys/wikis-and-blogs-in-education

6 More ideas Project wiki - Students can use a wiki to develop research projects, with the wiki acting as ongoing documentation of their work. Wikis can be used to map concepts: they are useful for brainstorming, Tutor can publish course resources like syllabus and handouts, and students can edit and comment on these directly Knowledge repository - Wikis can be used for students to add summaries of their thoughts from the prescribed readings, building a collaborative annotated bibliography. Presentation tool – Students can use the wiki to present their results, use it as evidence for personal development planning Course evaluation tool - Wikis are being used for course evaluation Wikis are tools for group authoring module wiki - where you will be working with all students on the module. group wiki - where you will be working in separate groups and will only be able to see the wiki activity associated with the group you have been assigned to. personal wiki - where you will be working on your own and only ALs and staff will only be able to see your wiki contributions. 01.01.2011Sylvia Moessinger 6

7 Pros of wikis Wikis can help provide an efficient, flexible, user-friendly and cost-effective interface for collaboration, knowledge creation and student interaction Wikis provide users with freedom of authoring and in-situ editing. Wikis offer highly flexible knowledge management space and learners are actively involved in their own co-construction of knowledge. Knowledge becomes networked (situated, contextualized) Result is immediately obvious (and not hidden in a thread of a forum or blog), but remains ephemeral: it changes, and can be changed and mediated by the community. Wikis help create a dynamic, collaborative learning environment where learning happens through open discussion and exchange of ideas and opinions, collaborative construction and sharing of knowledge, and active participation. They track the changes to individual pages over time and allow users to browse the development history of a page. Tutors can also insert feedback at the point required, so the wiki facilitates timely and specific in-task guidance 01.01.2011Sylvia Moessinger 7

8 Cons of wikis Technical barriers The small window for editing, the absence of a locking mechanism on the wiki to avoid the problems of concurrent updates, poor wiki navigation, and that user could not subscribe to the wiki but had to check the wiki to see whether there had been any contributions. Wiki content can become quickly unclear, with all the editing and re-editing. Google docs, allow better editing, however linking to other pages is best possible with Google Sites. Yet, Google Sites require some technical knowledge and is not so readily useable as the original wiki templates. Discussion is problematic to follow up as the Wiki does not separate discussions about points requiring a great deal of searching. 01.01.2011Sylvia Moessinger 8 Barriers to successful implementation of wikis might be technical, pedagogical and attitudinal nature. Credibility and reliability of wikis might be an issue.

9 Cons of wikis (part 2) 01.01.2011Sylvia Moessinger 9 Pedagogical barriers One of the most noted E-learning problems is related to pedagogy. Technology is mostly used to support traditional modes of teaching while many E-learning environments are content-driven, being mostly used to deliver course materials on-line. Teachers are still seen as experts, acquisition instead of participation metaphor often dominate the daily routines in classrooms, individual written assignments are still prevalent, and the pedagogical value of new technologies is often ignored. However, E-learning 2.0 is more active and participatory and the learners are not simply consumers of material which has been compiled by instructors. A change towards new learning theories like (social) constructivism and connectivism are required. Learners need to become agile consumers and creators and take greater ownership in the information-rich Web 2.0 world with its emphasis on user-generated content, communication and collaboration. The social constructivist model favours problem solving in a collaborative environment. The three main characteristics of the social constructivist approach is the use of complex, realistic problems, group collaboration, interaction and cooperation and learners are responsible and set goals, while teacher provide guidance. Hence, the use of wikis requires a change in pedagogical thinking.

10 Cons of wikis (part 3) Attitudional barriers Students perceived it as relative frustrating to wait for others to contribute, especially when they had to reach a conclusion in a relative short time. There are also some reports of the unwillingness of students to engage effectively in collaborative wiki work, because they do not want to amend others work and others report that the criticism of fellow students is not always perceived as constructive. Yet, some student contributions might indeed not always be appropriate. Students do not always welcome wikis. Some students appear to favour individual work over on-line collaboration using wikis, even if they get a reduced grade than use a wiki system and collaborate online. Understanding students’ point of view is of critical importance, because it can reveal how students respond to the technological innovation, what it means to them, how conducive to their learning they perceive it to be, and which problems they experience. 01.01.2011Sylvia Moessinger 10

11 Credibility and reliability of wikis Credibility and reliability – Wikis can be edited by any reader. They offer the opportunity to share knowledge and information, but they are not usually considered “authoritative” or “scholarly.” Because people can invent facts or pass off ideas as facts on a wiki, they contain a lot of suspect information. Although some larger wikis (like Wikipedia) make the effort to verify information or cite sources, these sites are still not considered reliable or trustworthy. If you find information on a wiki, you should verify that data by checking it against the information in another source, such as an encyclopaedia, dictionary, or index. Reference: terms.shtml#w terms.shtml#w See discussion in Cloudworks – ‘Wikipedia is acceptable to use as a reference for an academic piece of writing!?’ 01.01.2011Sylvia Moessinger 11

12 How to assess them? Several assessment strategies have been suggested. Self-assessment: Students write up summaries of their contributions to the wiki and submit them to the instructor. Group-based assessment: Students work in groups, and rate the contributions of each group member, as well as suggesting a grade for the group as a whole. Instructor/TA assessment: The instructor or teaching assistant assigns a grade and gives feedback without any outside assistance. Expert assessment: Links to the wiki pages are provided to outside experts, who assess the contributions. Peer review: Each student is assigned two or three other students’ contributions to assess, based on a rubric. However, assessment can be difficult because of the group collaborative nature of a wiki and it can be difficult to attribute work to a single student Reference: 1484_Wiki.pdf 1484_Wiki.pdf 01.01.2011 12 Sylvia Moessinger

13 Referencing and further Reading Peter Duffy / Dr. Axel Bruns (2006) The use of blogs, wikis and RSS in education: A conversation of possibilities, Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006, 26 Sep. 2006, Brisbane. Available online: (accessed 1 January 2011). Feng Su and Chris Beaumont (2010) Evaluating the use of a wiki for collaborative learning, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Vol. 47, No. 4, November 2010, 417–431. Available online: (accessed 1 January 2011). Gehringer, E. F. (2008) Assessing Students' Wiki Contributions, American Society for Engineering Education. Available online: (accessed 1 January 2011). Karasavvidis, I. (2010) Wiki uses in higher education: exploring barriers to successful implementation, Interactive Learning Environments, Vol. 18, No. 3, 219 — 231. Available online: (accessed 1 January 2011). Minocha, S. and Thomas, P.S. (2007) ‘Collaborative learning in a wiki environment: experiences from a software engineering course’, New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, vol.13, no.2, pp.187–209; also available online at login?url= 10.1080/ 13614560701712667 (accessed 13 May 2010). login?url= 10.1080/ 13614560701712667 01.01.2011 13 Sylvia Moessinger

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