Sunday, May 2, 2010

To Wiki or not to Wiki?

Wikis allow for asynchronous collaboration among several or groups of people. While we are aware of all the wonderful things wikis have to offer instructors often end up with wikis that do not meet the intended technology or instructional requirements.

The biggest factor would be ensuring that enough research is put into the development and creation of a wiki. The realization that a wiki does not meet or live up to the users expectations is all too common. Therefore, clear and precise objectives should be stated and defined before any decisions are made. For example, will the wiki need different security levels? How many people will be using the wiki? Will the wiki require programming and Web design support? (West & West 2009, p. 10)

Design and layout issues can arise if there is not a consistency in the look and feel of a site and its wiki. These types of issues also require designers and developers to be on standby incase of technical issues.
Lack of wiki guidelines and processes will also keep users from adopting the idea and may even cause users to reject the technology. “A wiki project can provide tools and a collaborative work space that enables contextual teaching and learning” (West & West 2009, p. 22).

The instructor should be the one to put the framework of the wiki in place. Without that framework or foundation an instructor may find out that his/her classroom dynamics may not be the best suited for this type of learning environment. It will also be up to the instructor to intervene when “self-management fails” (West & West 2009, p. 45)

West, M. L., & West, J. A. (2009). Using Wikis for Online Collaboration: The Power of the Read-Write Web. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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