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1. Wikis in Teaching

user_48.png1.1 Lecturers

  • A wiki can be used to produce an entire course just like this one. The wiki can be accessed at any time and from anywhere. It is securely stored on a server and can be backed up to a local hard drive. Different media such as video and images can be easily added and the page history function means that you can always role back to older content.
  • A wiki can be used for publishing course resources like syllabi and handouts, and students can edit and comment on these directly for all to see thus providing for participatory learning on the part of students.
  • Teachers can use a wiki as a knowledge base, enabling them to share reflections and thoughts regarding teaching practices. This facilitates the scholarship of teaching and learning and inquiry based reflective practice.
  • Teachers can use a wiki to collaborate on the creation of course. The wiki provides a single easily accessible space and because contributors can comment on their changes, there can be an ongoing discussion concerning the creation of the course.
  • Teachers can use a Wiki to write a collaborative research paper. Again this offers the advantage of anytime, anywhere access as long as there is an internet connection.

user_48.png1.2 Students

  • Students can use a wiki to develop research projects. The wiki gives the students the ability to collaborate from anywhere at any time. Since a wiki also provides a history of all the changes made to pages, the wiki serves as ongoing documentation of students' work. This allows the educator to view the "thinking" behind the final product.
  • The wiki environment provides of the needs of students with different learning styles since various media can be added to the pages including animations, video and images.
  • Students can build a collaborative annotated bibliography on a wiki through adding summaries of their thoughts on readings prescribed by lecturers. The bibliography is located in a single space with multiple contributors and everyone is able to access the thoughts of others.
  • Wikis can be used as an informal learning space for brainstorming a particular idea. Editing the wiki pages can produce a linked network of resources.
  • A wiki can be used as a presentation tool in place of conventional software. Other students are able to directly comment on and revise the presentation content depending on the type of access that they are given to the wiki.
  • Wikis are tools for group authoring. Often group members collaborate on a document by emailing to each member of the group a file that each person edits on their computer, and some attempt is then made to coordinate the edits so that everyone’s work is equally represented; using a wiki pulls the group members together and enables them to build and edit the document on a single, central wiki page.
  • Students can use a wiki for informal collaboration to build up their thoughts around a particular course or courses that they are taking. Again, a major advantage of the wiki is that the students do not have to be co-located in order to collaborate.
  • The Wiki can act as a project management space for students working in small groups. The ability to add a calendar means that students can plan their work and allocate tasks. The teacher can view the project plan and comment on the plan.

2. Example

This resource has been produced using a wiki - Wikispaces - and it should serve to give you a good idea of the range of content that can be created and delivered using a wiki. However, wikis are about more than content creation. They are about groups working together to complete projects and to produce resources. The fact that groups can collaborate in a wiki opens up possibilities for you to engage your students in collaborative learning. This might be particularly useful if you are teaching distance students and you want them to work together on a presentation that can easily be shared with you - the teacher - and with the other students. A basic learning sequence using a wiki might look like this:

Intended Learning Outcome
Learning Activity
Students will be able to work collaboratively to complete a research paper on the use of Web 2.0 in tools teaching and learning.
Students will be asked to draw on their learning to write a 2000 word research paper on the use of Web 2.0 tools in teaching and learning. Students will be required to use a range of wiki features including image, video and RSS embedding in order illustrate their points with the appropriate media.
Students will be assessed on the quality of the completed project. Quality will be judged using the associated marking rubric.

paper_content_pencil_48.png3. Research Articles

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image_add_48.pngAugar, N., Raitman, R., & Zhou, W. (2004). Teaching and Learning Online with Wikis. Paper presented at the Beyond the Comfort Zone: 21st ASCILITE Conference, Perth, Australia.
Retrieved from

This paper presents wikis as a useful tool for facilitating online education. Basic wiki functionality is outlined and different wikis are reviewed to highlight the features that make them a valuable technology for teaching and learning online. If you're new to wikis and want an understanding of their functionality then this paper will be helpful. Note however that the paper was written in 2004 and there are now many more commercial wiki products available. These commercial wikis include a range of functions not found in earlier wikis e.g. easy embedding of a range of media files. The paper discuses also discusses a wiki project underway at Deakin University. This project used a wiki to host an icebreaker exercise which aimed to facilitate ongoing interaction between members of online learning groups. Virtually all students participated and participating students completed the exercise to a satisfactory standard. Researchers identified the potential - since realized to some degree - for the use of Wikis in online collaborative learning.

image_add_48.pngBaltzersen, R. K. (2010). Radical Transparency: Open Access as a Key Concept in Wiki Pedagogy. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(6), 791-809.
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Educators have just started to use wikis and most of the educational research to date has focused primarily on the use of local wikis with access limitations. There seems to be little research related to how students can contribute in global, transparent wiki communities such as Wikipedia and Wikibooks. The purpose of this article is to argue that we need to extend our understanding of transparency as a pedagogical concept if we want to use these open, global wiki communities in an educational setting. By describing one wiki based course in detail, I argue that these kinds of radically transparent learning environments in tertiary education challenge traditional pedagogy and our ordinary perceptions of what a class and working assignment is. The course data in this article include a course description and teacher and student reflections on assessed group projects which produced “student written, collaboratively edited textbooks” on Wikibooks. Student perceptions indicate positive attitudes towards global learning environments, if the didactical design is carefully planned. In the article I suggest that “outsiders” and “former and future students” should be included as categories in a pedagogical definition of transparency. These categories represent a radical expansion of course space and course availability.

image_warning_48.pngBastida, R., McGrath, I., & Maude, P. (2010). Wiki Use in Mental Health Practice: Recognizing Potential Use of Collaborative Technology. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 19(2), 142-148.
Retrieved from

This paper provides a fairly standard introduction to Web 2.0 and makes two suggestions for the use of a Wiki in the mental health sector: integrating wikis into existing Intranets and as a platform for facilitating interagency collaboration. The article may prove useful if you're new to Web 2.0 and wikis.

image_add_48.pngElgort, I., Smith, A.G. & Toland, J (2008) Is Wiki An Effective Platform for Group Course Work? Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(2), pp.195-210.
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This study reports on students' and lecturers' perceptions of using wikis as a platform for conducting assessed group projects in two postgraduate Master's level university courses. The two Master's level courses - an information management course and a library studies course - were chosen because both had a substantial group work assignment which could translate well to a wiki environment. The implementation of the wiki tasks is grounded in learning theory with particular reference made to student centered learning and collaborative learning . The results from this study showed that: group tasks need to be designed to facilitate critical judgment and assessment criteria need to foreground analysis and evaluation of information in order to engage students in higher order thinking; that student attitudes to group work, in general, are mixed, and that the use of wikis per se is not enough to improve these attitudes; that expectations for academic rigor must be clearly explained to students because a Wiki can be seen as a less formal environment. On the positive side, students found wikis useful for arranging information and sharing knowledge, while instructors thought wikis made managing and marking group work easier and more effective.

image_add_48.pngGray, K., Kennedy, G., Waycott, J., Dalgarno, B., Bennett, S., Chang, R., et al. (2009). Educating the Net Generation: A Toolkit of Resources for Educators in Australian Universities. Retrieved from
Retrieved from

This publication includes a page of references for the use of Wikis in education. It's a good place to start if you want to source some articles to help you to decide what you want to do with a wikis in your own teaching.

image_add_48.png Guo, Z., & Stevens, K. J. (2011). Factors Influencing Perceived Usefulness of Wikis for Group Collaborative Learning By First Year Students. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 27(2), 221-242.
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This study reports the findings of an investigation of the factors influencing the use and usefulness of wikis in an introductory, undergraduate information systems course. Informed by the media choice, technology acceptance model from information systems research, and group collaborative learning research from the education literature, a survey instrument was developed and administered across the entire course. The study found that wiki use was influenced by the student's prior expertise with wikis, with their perceived usefulness of wikis being strongly influenced by their teachers' attitudes towards the technology, and the ease of access to the wikis. The students' overall attitude towards wikis was largely influenced by the extent to which they saw wikis as helping with their assignment work, and their intention to use wikis in the future was driven by their perception of wiki's usefulness. The paper concludes with an outline of the lessons learned from the study and recommendations for instructors who are thinking of using wikis in their teaching.

image_add_48.pngJoint Information Systems Committee. (2009). Effective Practice in a Digital Age: A Guide to Technology-Enhanced Learning and Teaching.
Retrieved from

This publication provides a case study on the use of a Wiki on a two year foundation degree programme in the United Kingdom. The wiki was used to provide students with course information and to allow users to develop their own wiki pages to develop their coursework supported by a discussion forum. This is interesting as the Wiki was used to facilitate personal publishing and discussion rather than as a collaborative publishing tool. Questions might be raised about whether a Wiki was the most appropriate technology to use in this instance.

image_add_48.pngJones, P. (2007). When a Wiki is the Way: Exploring the Use of a Wiki in a Constructively Aligned Learning Design. Paper presented at the 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, ICT: Providing Choices for Learners and Learning, Centre for Educational Development, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Web 2.0 applications such as podcasts, blogs and wikis, have captured the imagination of many educators, who recognise their potential for creating more collaborative and truly interactive online learning environments. However, whenever new technologies become available, there is a risk that they will be employed on the basis of novelty rather than for sound pedagogical reasons. To ensure that the latest crop of online tools are actually contributing in meaningful ways to the creation of effective and authentic learning environments, educators need to be mindful of the foundations of effective learning design and sound pedagogical principles. This paper explores the use of a wiki in a final year, undergraduate, social work course. Drawing on the concepts of constructive alignment and models for effective learning design, the wiki was integrated into a purposefully designed learning sequence in a manner which allowed students to engage in online collaboration directed at the achievement of a set of intended learning outcomes. In this way, the wiki becomes a fully integrated and coherent part of the learning experience, rather than simply a technological add-on. This is an excellent paper to read if you want to find out how to incorporate Web 2.0 tools into your teaching in a purposeful manner.

image_add_48.pngJudd, T., Kennedy, G., & Cropper, S. (2010). Using Wikis for Collaborative Learning: Assessing Collaboration Through Contribution. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(3), 341-354.
Retrieved from

Wikis are widely promoted as collaborative writing tools and are gaining in popularity in educational settings. However, while wikis include features that are designed to facilitate collaboration, it does not necessarily follow that their use will ensure or even encourage collaborative learning behaviour. The few empirical studies that have considered this issue report equivocal findings. We assessed students collaborative behaviour based on their contributions to a wiki-based shared writing task using a variety of text and time based metrics. We found little evidence of
collaboration despite adopting a learning design that was intended to support it. While overall participation was high, a relatively small proportion of students did the bulk of the work and many students’ contributions were superficial. Students made little use of the wiki’s commenting feature – a critical tool for contextualising and coordinating their contributions for and with others, and the majority of contributions were made very late in the task, making the possibility of extensive collaboration unlikely. These findings are discussed in relation to factors that may lead to the more successful integration of innovative, technology based learning activities into broader undergraduate curricula

image_add_48.pngKennedy, G., Dalgarno, B., Bennett, S., Gray, K., Waycott, J., Judd, T., et al. (2009). Educating the Net Generation: A Handbook of Resources for Practice and Policy.
Retrieved from

This publication contains a case study on the use of a Wiki with first year psychology students. The wiki was used to support both informal online discussion and a collaborative writing exercise. The collaborative writing exercise involved asking groups of betweeen 20-30 students to produce a Wikipedia style entry on motion detection. An evaluation of the collaborative exercise was carried out using an online questionnaire. 65 out of 772 students responded. The vast majority of students saw the task as relevant and the majority of students though that the task improved their ability to share knowledge and opinions with others. The majority of respondents also felt that the activity helped them to reflect on what they were learning. The case study also reports on e.g. technologies reviewed and used, the set up process, staff support provided and student support provided. Overall, the case study is a very useful "how to" guide supported by evaluation of the project.

image_warning_48.png O'Bannon, B., Baytiyeh, H., & Beard, J. (2010). Using Wikis to Create Collections of Curriculum-based Resources: Perceptions of Pre-service Teachers. Paper presented at the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (SITE) 2010, San Diego, CA.
Retrieved from

This pilot study examined the perceptions of pre-service teachers regarding the usefulness of wikis to develop a collection of curriculum-based web sites for use with their future students. Further, it examined the consistency of their participation in the reader, writer and editor roles. The results revealed that participants did not consistently read, write or edit the wiki during the semester. Reasons given for the lack of consistent participation in the reader and writer roles were lack of motivation, lack of time and lack of understanding. Participants were very uncomfortable with editing the work of others and with others editing their work. They liked the accessibility that wikis provide and that they could collaborate with peers without sending multiple emails and at a time of their choosing.

image_warning_48.pngSu, F., & Beaumont, C. (2010). Evaluating the use of a wiki for collaborative learning. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(4), 417-431.
Retrieved from

A wiki is able to provide a learning environment which is closely aligned with the social-constructivist approach and is more natural than many tools where open collaboration and the exchange of ideas are important. This case study analyses and evaluates essential aspects for the successful deployment of a wiki in a higher education setting using Salmon’s five-stage e-learning framework. Indicators of the learning benefits were determined by qualitative analysis of students’ wiki contributions. Students’ perceptions were captured through interviews and questionnaires at the start and end of the project, thereby providing indicators of their motivation towards this method of learning. Our results suggest that a wiki can promote effective collaborative learning and confidence in formative self and peer assessment by facilitating rapid feedback, vicarious learning through observing others’ contributions and easy navigation and tracking facilities. Student authorship was also encouraged. Issues identified included providing easy access to the wiki, lack of personalisation, possible vandalism and plagiarism. Also, students with learning difficulties might require extra help and take longer to familiarise themselves with this new e-learning environment.

image_add_48.pngWeaver, D., Viper, S., Latter, J., & McIntosh, P. C. (2010). Off Campus Students' Experiences Collaborating Online Using Wikis. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(6), 847-860.
Retrieved from

An online group work project for off campus students, using wikis as the collaboration platform, has been conducted successfully for several years. Students were given the opportunity and technical means to collaborate, and staff could assess individual students’ participation. However, the actual level of collaboration was less than hoped for, especially in early iterations of the unit. While the teaching staff are confident that, for the overall student cohort, collaborating online using a wiki is meeting the needs of most students, this is varied across the diverse cohort. To gain further insight into the internal machinations of student groups, selected students were invited to submit their experiences of their wiki project. This paper reports the personal stories of two off campus students, and compares the experiences described by our students with the teaching staff members’ perceptions. The two students featured were selected not just for their articulate writing, but because their group experiences were quite different. Considering these students’ experiences has allowed the teaching staff to reflect on how to better support our students during their group project.

image_warning_48.pngWheeler, S., Yeomans, P., & Wheeler, D. (2008). The Good, the Bad and the Wiki: Evaluating Student-Generated Content for Collaborative Learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(6), 987-995.
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This paper explores the potential for wiki-type open architecture software to promote and support collaborative learning through the use of student created content. It delineates some of the affordances and constraints of wiki software as an open architecture that has the potential to facilitate collaborative learning through community-focused enquiry. It seeks to promote debate in this key area of development, and highlights some recent key contributions to the developing discourse on social software in what has been termed ‘the architecture of participation’.