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