Wiki use in the real world: A success story

It seems like people equate the term wiki with Wikipedia, and unfortunately, the latter carries with it some negative connotations. A rebuttal to the latter is a worthy cause; however, for now I’d like to tell you about a real, live situation in which a wiki was used successfully.

As some of you know, I’m doing graduate work right now in instructional design/technology. This summer I’m in a one-hour course which covers Moodle (I’m more interested in the pedagogical aspects than the technical stuff). The course is very constructivist in nature, and last week one of our assignments was to work with a group to develop the rubric upon which our final projects (courses delivered via Moodle) would be graded. The instructor set up wikis for each group to complete the work.

By Friday or so I could see nobody else in my group had done anything for the project, so I typed in a few bullet points to get us started. Then, over the course of the weekend, the three of us met online (we never have and likely never will meet in person), using Moodle’s built-in chat feature, and collaboratively completed our rubric. I laid out a table for it and we each plugged in our thoughts.

We were done in about an hour. Imagine if we’d been forced to rely on e-mail to get this done.

I don’t think the others in my group had used a wiki before, or at least not contributed to one, and I could feel some hesitancy about making changes to someone else’s work–as also observed by Helen Nicol. I agree with Helen–this is just something we need to get used to, not only as the editor but as the editee.

Anyway, I got excited about the implications of this exercise and how it could affect business as usual around here, and wanted to share. I’m interested in applying this to the Stratepedia tools–wouldn’t a community-developed set of tips, tricks, and how-tos be cool?

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Aaron Sumner

Aaron Sumner is the Director of Technology for Research and Development at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. He has worked in web development and instructional technology since 1994.