Wikis and education

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Wikis and education are two notable ideas that may be of related interest. A wiki is a website where users can edit or add content onto a web page with a web browser. Wikis fall under the group of Web 2.0 technologies which are thought to facilitate collaboration by promoting interaction with online content.[1] Many publicly available wikis, such as Wikiversity, allow for self-education. Wikis are sometimes used in classrooms for collaborative projects. Some teachers have found, however, that learners prefer to add their own content rather than rewrite others' work, perhaps because of an institutionally cultivated norm of individual ownership.[2][3] Some students express shyness about exposing their work to be viewed by others. Such transparency seems to reduce plagiarism.[4]

There is capability, with wiki software such as MediaWiki, to review all the edits made by any particular user. In this way, if an edit made by a user is identified as problematic, it is possible to check that user's other edits for issues. This feature is useful for teachers of classes in which grades for group projects are determined by the contributions of individual students to a wiki. One teacher notes, "Since all the work is done on the wiki, the teacher can see everything that is and is not being done. That makes early intervention possible whenever it is necessary."[5] Another educator who had students use MediaWiki writes:[6]

One thing they didn’t have to worry about—and herein lies, to my mind, one of the greatest virtues of the wiki as a tool for collaborative work—was that some contributors might walk away with a high grade in exchange for little effort, freeloading off the commitment of others. I showed them how the wiki enabled me—and them—to track each user’s participation in the project. In the end, a student whose contribution amounted to a few brief, marginal paragraphs earned a C− for the assignment, while two students who contributed a large quantity of excellent material earned a grade of A+. Other grades ranged from B− to A.


  1. ^ Alexander, (2006), Web 2.0: a new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? EDUCAUSE Review 41, 32–44.
  2. ^ Lund, Andreas (2006), Is there a space for the teacher in a WIKI? (PDF), Association for Computing Machinery, pp. 37–46, ISBN 1-59593-413-8
  3. ^ Pascoe, Michael; Monroe, Forrest; Macfarlane, Helen (2018-06-14). "Taking Constructivism One Step Further: Post Hoc Analysis of a Student-Created Wiki". JMIR Medical Education. 4 (1): e16. doi:10.2196/mededu.9197. ISSN 2369-3762. PMC 6024102. PMID 29903697.
  4. ^ Cubric, Marija (2007), Wiki-based process framework for blended learning (PDF), Association for Computing Machinery, ISBN 978-1-59593-861-9
  5. ^ RG Platt, EB Peach (2008), Active Learning 2.0 or Wiki is not a Four-Letter-Word (PDF), vol. 35, Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning
  6. ^ Schacht, Paul, "The Collaborative Writing Project", Using Wiki in Education (PDF)