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Thing 05 – Wiki

24 November 2012

Because of a shared joke, a possum is now the mascot of the Canberra Moodleposium. This photo was taken by @moodler, that is, Martin Dougiamas, when the RSPCA brought a blind possum to start Day 2 of the conference on Friday.

Our ThingMaster** asked whether wikis had had their day, or at least she directed us to read an article by Steve Kolowich on Whither the Wikis?

I would say that in my recent experience wikis are by no means dead, but are now used for projects with a shorter life, where the wiki’s attributes help a small team develop a project website effectively and collaboratively. An excellent MOOC on mobile learning that I visited used a wikispaces site as the strong foundation for its success – collaboratively developed, but chiefly authored by the main MOOC organiser, of whom I am a BIG fan, the mobiMOOC wiki clearly set out the rules and aims of the course, which ran throughout September this year.

One example where wikis have been used for academic visibility and for academic publishing, again somewhat contrary to Kolowich’s summary, could be the two wikis (crosslinked) set up by Will Rifkin and his colleagues:

  • the first is a ‘business card’ site, charting Dr Rifkin’s current and past projects: Will Rifkin, PhD
  • the second is a wiki created as part of an Australian Learning and Teaching Council research project, New Media for Science. The project finished in 2010, but the team (particularly Dr Jo Righetti) have collected and published many examples of tools, such as assignment templates and support files, which they used in encouraging science undergraduates to learn the tools they will need to communicate science when they graduate: wikis, podcasts, blogs, and videos.

So I think of wikis as a format, rather than a set of publications: the collective authoring of a great pile of knowledge, as represented by Wikipedia and by the sites that document software under development, is made possible by wikis, but they aren’t limited to these noble and somewhat rare collaborative achievements. Matthew Allen (LINK) says that ‘a wiki is what you make it to be’.

Grazia Scotellaro was persuasive, at this week’s Moodleposium, on why not to use the built-in wiki in LEO (Moodle) – one reason being that the wiki that students make is their product, which they should be able to consult and develop long after the unit finishes. If you are new to wikis, then the LEO wiki presents the challenge upfront of how to create pages; and I have had trouble using the wiki in combination with groups in LEO, so I will be interested to see if it works better in Moodle 2.3.

** ThingMistress? Leader and whipcracker? 🙂

Other sites I looked at while writing this:

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 28 November 2012 10:05 am

    lol, will come back to your post and comment in full later….just getting used to being called the ThingMistress !!

  2. Leighana permalink
    30 November 2012 9:41 am

    It is now my goal to one day have a job title the ends in mistress…

  3. 6 December 2012 3:29 pm

    I also enjoy your posts Penny, lots of thought and links. The mobiMOOC wiki looks very interesting. You should also check out Leighana’s link on her blog about wikis- her husband uses wikis extensively in his teaching!

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