A wiki is a type of website that permits users to edit available content. Wikis are designed with the philosophy of making it easy to correct mistakes and through collaboration, difficult to make mistakes. The theory is that a large audience will overall provide more accurate information than a single expert or source. An example of a wiki is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia in which users can edit and change information in the encyclopedia. The communities of users ensure that the information is accurate and updated. Users who abuse the system are restricted from the ability to make changes to the encyclopedia.
Some popular free Wiki websites and applications include:
Application to All Courses
The primary benefits of wikis will be similar in regular, large enrollment and online and hybrid courses including as a method of providing information, a method of assessment, and a method to garner participation and communication between students. Some of the benefits of wikis include:
- Allows for access to posted information at any time from any location.
- Allows for the posting of multimedia including links, images, music, and videos.
- Allows the instructor to track submissions and changes to group projects.
- Useful in collecting data from groups of students.
- Allows students to collaboratively write reviews of courses or assignments.
- Provides a low-cost but effective communication and collaboration tool.
- Promotes the close reading, revision, and tracking of drafts.
- Allows students and instructors to collaborate to create simple websites.
- Allows groups of students to peer-edit and evaluate documents for group projects.
- Allows groups of students to group author papers and projects.
- Can be used in place of presentation software such as PowerPoint.
- Reduces the amount of paper-based assignment submissions. Additionally, wiki posts are time and date stamped allowing instructors to enforce submission due dates.
- Tracks revision history allowing users to go back to former iterations or undo changes.
Some ways in which a wiki could be utilized in regular, large enrollment or online & hybrid courses include:
- Create a repository of information such as definitions, descriptions of theories, encyclopedia entries, research data and more.
- Use as a platform for group projects thus allowing for revision history, tracking who is contributing to a project, and the provision of a collaborative interface.
- Utilize as a repository of information across courses or semesters.
- Utilize as a training manual with instructions such as how to perform tasks. Allow students to edit the manual to improve it for future students.
Articles – Journal and Academic
- Collaboration at a Distance: Using a Wiki to Create a Collaborative Learning Environment for Distance Education and On-Campus Students in a Social Work Course: A report from the “Journal of Teaching in Social Work” outlining how a wiki was utilized to create collaboration among distance and on campus students.
- Feedback as dialogue: exploring the links between formative assessment and social software in distance learning: A scholarly article from the journal “Learning, Media and Technology” exploring the relationship between formal assessment and social software including social software such as social citations, wikis and blogs.
- The appropriation and repurposing of social technologies in higher education: A scholarly journal article from the “Journal of Computer Assisted Learning” discussing a study of three courses that utilized blogs and wikis, the pedagogy behind them, and the implications for future courses. Full article is available through the University of Florida libraries journal collections.
- Utilizing Wiki-Systems in higher education classes: a chance for universal access?: A scholarly article from the journal “Computer Science” investigating the perceived success of wikis in higher education in comparison to student incentives.
- Wiki uses in higher education: exploring barriers to successful implementation: A scholarly article from the journal “Interactive Learning Environments” exploring barriers to implementation of wikis due to the influences of non-constructivist learning experiences on the part of the student.
Articles – Blogs, Websites, Wikis
- Compare Open-Source Wiki Software: A blog article with a comparison of free and open source wiki software.
- How Wikis Work: An article from howstuffworks.com
- Wikipedia: A popular wiki encyclopedia website with detailed definitions and examples of wiki entries.
For information on similar tools in the CITT Tool Box visit:
Keep accessibility in mind as you develop course content and build assignments and assessments. Many online tools are not fully accessible, so it’s important to think about how you will make the assignment accessible if requested. The Disability Resource Center and the UF Accessibility page will guide you in making appropriate accommodations. You can also find out more about accessibility at our toolbox page on Accessibility in the Online Classroom.