More Wikis! - #5c

Though blogs have been showing up in the news media both as a topic of discussion and as an avenue for interaction, the wiki phenomenon has yet to make the same splash!  Just recently, however, I’m seeing them as the subject in educational articles.

At the University of California, San Diego, wikis became the focus of an article in the online student newspaper.  It seems some tech-saavy students decided to use a wiki as a “study group” to “compile [their] answers” in preparing (or was it ‘cramming’) for their final exam.  The article reviewed some of the same issues posted previously in this blog, to include:  ease of use, collaborative (including contributors v. “freeloaders”, and openness versus privacy control (i.e., password-protected).  In addition, the article indicated that due to the potential for inaccuracies in the content, the wiki has risks (just as face-to-face study groups) and that due to the “sharing” nature and possibility of academic dishonesty, code of conduct policies may need to be addressed.

The Education Week article describes wikis in use at various schools.  The issue of security and privacy is once again determined a bit of dilemma, but the password protection or “internal secure wireless network” are seen as appropriate solutions.  The one emphasis I really applauded is the need to expose students to this technology tool not only for developing and constructing content-specific knowledge, but also to discuss ethical principles for social software.  The importance of future connections is also key as the author pointed out the increasing use of wikis “in the business world for tasks such as tracking projects, brainstorming, and writing and editing documents online, negating the need for back-and-forth emails and meetings” (Borja, 2006).

The continuing publication of wiki usage in business and in schools is helpful to make them a recognized tool for collaboration, but also to discuss the appropriate uses – again trying to address the when, how and why questions.  I am further encouraged in developing the proposed wiki in my educational institution.  I plan to explore different wiki software and develop the framework for my wiki as next week’s goals.

Borja, R. R. (April 5, 2006). Educators experiment with student-written ‘wikis’: Malleable, open-ended web sites seen as aid to collaborative learning. Education Week. Retreived April 12, 2006 from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2006/04/05/30wiki.h25.html?querystring=wikis&levelId=1000

Kogan, V. (April 2006). New technology makes studying more wiki, less wicked. The Guardian Online (University of California, San Diego Official Student Newspaper).  Retrieved April 12, 2006 from http://www.ucsdguardian.org/cgi-bin/features?art=2006_04_03_01


At 2:07 AM, Blogger Julie Romey said...

Marie - Thanks for all of your great research on wikis! I knew nothing about them before this class and I feel like I've learned a lot through your posts. I think I am going to work with our tech support to create a wiki to use for my academy, in addition to the blogs. I guess we also have discussion forums available to us - I'm just going to use all the social software available to me!

I tried to follow your link to the Education Week article, but I'm not a member so I couldn't check it out. I did read the one from UCSD and it sure did hit some hot topics for me. I especially like the wiki version of the serenity prayer at the end - it sums up the responsibility of wiki contributors pretty nicely.

The issue of academic dishonesty has been a problem ever since they school system began. I do sometimes feel that technology makes it easier to cheat (like taking pictures of tests with camera phones, or text messaging answers) but we can't keep them from the technology because of that alone. When I first started teaching (six years ago) I wouldn't tell my students that they could email their assignments home as attachments. I was concerned that if I showed them how to do this they would then just start emailing their work to one another and turning it in as their own. It took me awhile, but I finally realized that if they wanted to cheat they would find a way to do it, whether I showed it to them or not. So now I encourage students to email their work home and I show them how all the time.

You mentioned in your post about the need for code of conduct policies. We just developed a new AUP at our school this year, but we did not list out specific technologies (i.e. blogs, wikis, chat rooms, etc.) in terms of what they could and could not do. We made a general statement that covered all the bases. It is important to have this so that you can fall back on it if needed. I think I may develop something more specific for my academy classes that deals with blogs and the other social software we will be using.

Thanks again for the great article and for all of your research!

At 8:41 AM, Blogger M. Yates said...

I am going to write more later but I just found a great blog on using blogs and wikis in the classroom and thought you might want to check it out.

Here it is: http://www.weblogg-ed.com/stories/storyReader$100

Marie Y.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Marie C said...

Thanks! Will Richardson's Weblogged is on my RSS feed, so I've been reading his postings on a regular basis for a few months now - he is on a hiatus right now and I miss his insights! He has also referenced many of the foundational articles/websites on which I've posted!


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