Internal - Faculty & Staff

Wikis

Wikis are easy-to-publish websites that can be quickly and easily viewed and modified by many people. Content displayed on a wiki can include text, images, video, audio, and links. Unlike a blog, which is organized chronologically, there is no common organizational scheme for a wiki; contributors to a wiki can determine how pages are structured. Wikis generally have the functionality to allow readers to comment on individual pages, as well as the ability to subscribe and to tag content with keywords.

A wiki can be a powerful instructional tool that allows members of a class to collaborate on a shared piece of work. Wikis also generally allow users to track the changes that have been made to each document in the site, a feature that can be useful when assessing a student’s contribution to the wiki.

Wikis are often used in education to facilitate group work, create collaborative documents, host dynamic knowledge bases (such as a shared glossary of terms), or to create a “living” document, where content changes often and can be updated easily.

1. Experiment

Create a low-stakes environment in which students can experiment with the technology prior to using it for a class session.

2. Set a Purpose

Clearly outline the purpose of the wiki in your specific class, including expectations for student contributions.

3. Alternative Technologies

When controversial course topics are involved, consider using alternative technologies that offer t

AdvantagesChallenges
Easy to use from anywhere with an internet connection and access to a web browser. No need to have special web editing software.Easy for many authors to add or edit content.Ability to track changes to see how entries change over time and who makes each change.Can cut down on other forms of communication–for example, collaborative editing can be done in a wiki rather than emailing a document.Can be used as a more democratic form of knowledge creation in which all students have equal opportunity to contribute at their own pace.Gives students the opportunity to negotiate meaning and “correctness” of content amongst each other.Ability to track changes allows students to see how their knowledge building evolves, leading to a more meta-cognitive experience.Any user with edit privileges has ability to manipulate content, which can lead to problems.Dynamic nature of content can lead to bias.Monitoring changes to entries can be very time consuming.Intellectual property issues can arise regarding ownership of information.Controversial issues can create challenges if students can’t come to an agreement on content.