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TCC 2009: Wikis that Work: Effective Wiki Practices for Virtual Learning Communities

my live notes from TCC 2009

Wikis that Work: Effective Wiki Practices for Virtual Learning Communities
by Barbara Farey and Lorna Kearns


  • discuss theoretical foundation
  • define wiki
  • show examples
  • recommended practices for using wikis
  • identify future directions
  • provide resources
  • Q&A

Social Learning (framework)

  • social constructivism (Huang, 2002)
    • knowledge is constructed by learners as they interact with one another
  • communities of practice
    • collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor (wenger, 2004)
  • benefit of learning communities
    • multiple studies show data on improved GPA, retention and satisfaction (Lenning and Ebbers, 1999) Slide 3

Online learning communities

  • community of inquiry (Garrison, Anderson, and Archer, 2000)
    • social presence (richardson & swan, 2003)
      • project yourself as a real person into an online environment and make connections
  • online group development (carabajal, lapointe, and gunawardena, 2003)
  • Building Online Learning Communities (Palloff and Pratt, 2007)

What is a wiki?

  • web-based groupware app that enables
    • WYSIWYG creation and editing of html pages
    • group editing (multiple authors editing each other’s work)
    • version tracking in form of page history
      • can see who made what changes
      • roll back to a previous version
    • page linking and organization
    • organization by context rather than chronology
      • organized by info that you set up

Benefits for education

  • free
  • robust support for group wowrk
  • easy to learn and use
  • enables hyperlinking to external sites
  • provides record of collaboration
  • can be archived


  • getting students to contribute
  • setting rules that allow for holistic, organic evolution of wiki
    • connect wiki with grading and rules for use
  • getting contributors to feel comfortable editing the work of others and having others edit their work
    • needs more research on this topic


  • no tech support when using 3rd party tool
  • lack of control over content
    • need to make regular backups

Personality Pedagogy Wiki

Instructional wikis

  • collaborative glossary for human anatomy class
  • project case libarary for exemplary computer science student work
  • reporitory for arichtecture course project descriptions for comment by peers & experts
    • Guzdial, Rick, and Kehoe, 2000
  • collaborative “close reading” of poetry
    • Rick, Guzdial, Carroll, Holloway-Attaway, and Walker, 2002
  • supplement to course management system
    • frydenberg, 2008

Extracurricular wikis

  • evolving information exchange by students at Brown University about courses they’ve taken
    • Duffy and Bruns, 2006
  • planning tool and proceedings repository for technoculture conference at the University of British Columbia
    • Lamb, 2004

Cohort 8 Wiki

  • started by student, Carol Johnston
  • begun mid semester by 5 students in Fall 08
  • LIS 2002 (course name), retrieving information
  • search and seize assignments (reference class)
  • needed to prioritize resources found (looking back on it)

LIS 2970 Wiki

  • pleased at end of course if students could download wiki to use as a resource

Instructional wikis that work

  • make it valuable to students
    • repository for final project
    • reference archive for future use
  • grade the wiki
  • provide initial format and some content to model contributions

Study group wikis that work

  • learn about wikis
  • share insights with students
  • point students to resources
  • encourage student to communicate outside of class to reach out to one another
  • dont institutionalize the wiki

Some resources

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