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Random Thoughts on Instructional Design

Seamless Integration of Wikis into the Learning Environment: Part 9 of 12

Using Wikis in the Curriculum

Wikis offer educators an opportunity to create a different type of web resource in which both the instructor and the student group can have equal active roles as contributors and editors. The nature of Wikis means they offer a number benefits relating to learning and teaching applications:

  • Wikis are extremely flexible allowing any site structure to be created.
  • Wikis can be used in classroom based, hybrid, and online courses.
  • Wiki functionality makes them ideal for collaborative writing applications and knowledge bases, that can be utilized across sections, terms and courses.
  • Wiki integration into the curriculum assist in transferring from instructor-centered to learner-centered educational opportunities.
  • Enables web publishing without knowledge of HTML or use of special web development tools.
  • Enables faculty to track who contributed what and when (see "Marking Group Authored Wikis" section).

There are also a few disadvantages that you may want to take into consideration before utilizing this tool in your courses:

  • Using a wiki does involve learning about acceptable editing practices (e.g. how to deal with conflicting opinions).
  • Managing a wiki can require significant time commitments from faculty and/or student moderators as page edits should be closely monitored at the beginning of the project/assignment.
  • A wiki has no predefined structure to guide new users and visitors can find navigating a wiki difficult (a hypermedia content page and/or search tool would assist with this issue.)
  • IP ownership and copyright of Wiki pages can be contentious unless clear policies are in place.

Tips for Successful Assignment Design

  • Allow experimentation time
  • Ease into it
  • Remember that collaboration is a skill
  • Create guidelines or let your students create them
  • Have an assessment plan and make it clear to the students

Next week – Preparing Students

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This entry was posted on April 28, 2008 by in Blackboard 8, Instructional Technology.

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