Catherine Bruen, Noel Fitzpatrick, Paul Gormley, Jen Harvey, Claire McAvinia
TCD, DIT, NUIG, NUI Maynooth
TCD, DIT, NUIG, NUI Maynooth
Web 2.0 technologies such as podcasts, blogs and wikis are increasingly being used in higher education. A wiki is defined as‘ a freely expandable collection of interlinked Web pages, a hypertext system for storing and modifying information – a database where each page is easily editable by any user with a forms-capable Web Browser client’ (Leuf, B. and Cunningham, W. 2001). Due to their flexibility, adaptability and potential for increased functionality via Web 2.0 plug-and-play features wikis are currently being adopted across a wide range of contexts and settings (e.g. social, business and educational) . Wikis are easy to create, use and employ.
In pedagogical terms, a key attraction of using wikis is that their structure is shaped from within (rather than being imposed from above by proprietary institutional systems). Therefore ‘users do not have to adapt their practice to ‘dictates of a system’ but can allow their practice to define the structure (Lamb, 2004). Wikis are increasingly being cited in Higher Education research as appropriate and powerful web spaces which provide opportunities to capture, discuss, and review individual, group, project or organisational activities. These activities, in turn, offer possibilities for knowledge development by utilising wiki collaborative active spaces.
The adaptive and ‘constructivist’ nature of wikis make them an interesting and topic technology to investigate, particularly as research indicates what wikis may provide the potential to adapt and support a range of teaching, learning, research and organisational activities in higher education.
Use selected case study examples, this paper will illustrate the use of wikis to support online community based tasks, project development/process, collaborative materials development and various student and peer supported activities. A key focus of the paper will centre on evaluating the effectiveness (or otherwise) of wikis to create online communities to support knowledge management (development, retention and transfer). See for example Choy & Ng (2007), Lamb (2004), Elgort (2008), Raman et al. (2005).
The paper will conclude with a review of the emergent themes arising and lessons learned from the case studies. This will lead into a series of recommendations relating to the effective establishment, design, management and support and use of wikis to support knowledge creation and collaborative enterprise.
Choy, S. O. & Ng, K. C. (2007). Implementing wiki software for supplementing online learning. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23(2), 209-226.
Elgort, I. Smith, A.G and Toland, J (2008) Is wiki an effective platform for group course work? Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 2008, 24(2), 195-210
Lamb, B. (2004). Wide open spaces: Wikis ready or not. Educause Review, September/October 2004: 36-48.
Leuf, B. and Cunningham, W. (2001) The Wiki Way. Quick collaboration of the Web, Addison- Wesley, 2001.
Raman, M. Ryan, T and Olfman, L (2005) Designing Knowledge Management Systems for Teaching and Learning with Wiki Technology Journal of Information Systems Education; Fall 2005; 16, 3; ProQuest Education Journals pg. 311