Wiki Reflection

For EdTech 523, I am asked to write reflections.  The first one involved reading  the following article:

Meishar-Tal, H., & Gorsky, P. (2010). Wikis: What students do and do not do when writing collaboratively. Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, 25(1), 25-33. DOI: 10.1080/02680510903482074.

The assignment is to reflect on the differences in the types of collaboration experiences I encountered in a “project” wiki vs. the “writing” wiki reported on in the article and how I might facilitate wiki collaboration in my own classroom.

I want to present my findings from the article.  Students tend to add and modify when writing in collaboration.  The most common editorial action is adding sentences.  Students rarely delete another student’s work.  Students take ownership in what they contribute and are reluctant to be critical of other students’ writings.  The wikis take on a threaded discussion format.  While all students contribute, most editorial actions are performed by a small group of students.  Just as few students do most of the editing, few items get most of the editing.

My experience with the wiki project was similar.  Everyone participated (as required), but some students took a more active role.  With the (planned) lack of direction, they lead the way in posting their icebreakers and provided the model for others to follow.  They also organized the wiki.  One student created a survey to gather the thoughts of the other members of the group.  This gave us a guideline of what the groups thoughts were without having a long, drawn out discussion.

If I could utilize wikis in my class, one of the biggest lessons I learned (as designed by the instructor), was to be specific in tasks.  We are a group of highly educated individuals, yet we felt uncertain of how to proceed with minimal instructions.  Imagine how our students would feel.  You want to develop independent, critical thinking skills, but people are naturally tepid when placed in a strange environment.  Therefore, I would introduced the wiki in small, guided steps and slowly evolve in to larger, more independent projects.

Here is the link to my icebreaker, “Student Crest“.