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BUSINESS STUDENT COLLABORATIVE WORK SUPPORTED BY MOODLE WIKI

BUSINESS STUDENT COLLABORATIVE WORK SUPPORTED BY MOODLE WIKI

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The first part of the paper presents wiki as a Web 2.0 tool in general and also its potential use in the field of education. Our presentation continues with our wiki experiences, particularly how wiki, as a module of open-source learning management system Moodle, can support collaborative student work. The paper concludes with the presentation of the research results of Moodle wiki usage by business school students. Despite the fact that Moodle wiki is not as user-friendly as Media Wiki, it can successfully and efficiently support student collaborative work.
The first part of the paper presents wiki as a Web 2.0 tool in general and also its potential use in the field of education. Our presentation continues with our wiki experiences, particularly how wiki, as a module of open-source learning management system Moodle, can support collaborative student work. The paper concludes with the presentation of the research results of Moodle wiki usage by business school students. Despite the fact that Moodle wiki is not as user-friendly as Media Wiki, it can successfully and efficiently support student collaborative work.

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Published by: Viktorija Florjančič on Apr 15, 2010
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BUSINESS STUDENT COLLABORATIVE WORKSUPPORTED BY MOODLE WIKI
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Keywords: e-Learning, Moodle, Wiki, Collaborative Work.Abstract: The first part of the paper presents wiki as a Web 2.0 tool in general and also its potential use in the field of education. Our presentation continues with our wiki experiences, particularly how wiki, as a module of open-source learning management system Moodle, can support collaborative student work. The paper concludes with the presentation of the research results of Moodle wiki usage by business school students.Despite the fact that Moodle wiki is not as user-friendly as Media Wiki, it can successfully and efficientlysupport student collaborative work.
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INTRODUCTION
After the Tim Berners-Lee World-Wide-Webrevolution in the beginning of the nineties of the previous century, the Internet became moreaccessible to the general public. In 2004, the termWeb 2.0 was created as a result of the brainstorming

this phenomenon attracted a great deal of attention(Nass and Levitt 2007, 4). Furthermore, Sonesh(2005) talks about the second Internet revolution.According to Whatis.com
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, Web 2.0 is a term for advanced Internet technology and applicationsincluding blogs, wikis, RSS and social bookmarking.Greater collaboration among Internet users, content providers and enterprises is emphasized as the mostsignificant difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0(ibidem). At this point, it should be noted that theterm Web 1.0 had not been used before the creationof the term Web 2.0. According to Nass and Levitt(2007, 4), the common characteristic of Web 2.0technologies/concepts is its user centered nature.Users can easily create content, publish it on theInternet and share it with other users. Web 2.0represents a different use of the Web, which is morecollaborative and more interactive.Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs and wikis,are also widely adopted by businesses. Blogs and
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wikis are useful for sharing of unstructuredinformation (Whatis.com) and supportingcollaborative work in working environments. Nowadays, more and more enterprises write their own blogs
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. Richardson (2006, 62) discusses largeenterprises such as Disney
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, McDonalds
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, Sony
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andBMW
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that use wikis in order to manage documentsand information. The extent of Web 2.0 technologiesusage in the business world influenced our decisionto implement Web 2.0 technologies in our coursecurriculum. It is especially important that businessschool students and graduates acquire knowledgeand skills related to the effective use of thementioned technologies. According to the fact (Dale1969, 108) that learners remember more if they learnfrom their own experience, Web 2.0 technologieswere implemented in a way that enabled students toactively use these technologies in order to preparedifferent tasks and assignments. We implementedthe use of blogs in two postgraduate courses that aremore research oriented. In these cases, students used blogs to collect different resources, to collaborate,and to develop new knowledge. For undergraduatestudents, Wiki was implemented as a collaborativetool in certain courses in the field of businessinformatics. Due to the fact that Moodle is used asthe faculty official learning management system
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(LMS), we decided to use Moodle wiki with the purpose of supporting student teamwork.The paper discusses our implementation of Moodle wiki and its impact on teaching andlearning. Moodle wiki was used in the framework of one obligatory undergraduate course and twoelective undergraduate courses. Furthermore,Moodle wiki was used by students of one elective postgraduate course during the time this paper waswritten. The conclusion of the course is usuallyfollowed by an evaluation of the course. Theevaluation questionnaire contained questions relatedto the use of wiki. Obtained data was then used inorder to either confirm or reject the followinghypotheses:
 
wiki is a suitable tool for the support of studentcollaborative teamwork and can substituteclassical teamwork performed in a classroom
 
wiki usage improves collaboration amongstudents and teachers
 
the quality of student assignments increases dueto the organization and transparency enabled bywiki.Data collected by the survey was processed withSPPS program (ver. 17.0) and the results are presented in tables and figures.
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WIKIS
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Wiki D
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 Prolif
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Wiki was first used as an authoring tool used tomanage unstructured data by Ward Cunningham in1995. The word »wiki-wiki« in Hawaiian means»quick« (Richardson 2006, 59), which depicts thenature of wiki that helps us manage content quicklyand easily. The most known wiki environment isfree multilingual encyclopaedia Wikipedia
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, whereanyone from anywhere may contribute to its content.The negative aspect of this Wikipedia freedom isreflected in consequent scepticism, especially among professionals, regarding the reliability of Wikipediacontent. Alex Halavais, professor at the Universityof Buffalo, tested Wikipedia by entering 13 variouserroneous posts. All entered errors were fixed withina couple of hours (Richardson 2006, 61). Quick response to such attempts is one of the improvedfeatures of Wikipedia. Richardson (2006, 61)reported about a Wikipedia post regarding the IndianOcean earthquake that struck at the end of December 
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2004. The first Wikipedia 76-word post was createdapproximately 9 hours after the tragic event. In thenext 24 hours, the post was edited more than 400times and had grown to approximately 3,000 words.The photos, charts and other graphics were alsoedited. Forty-eight hours after the first post, the posthad grown to over 6,500 words and had been edited1,200 times. It is amazing how quickly such eventsappear in the Wikipedia and how quickly the contentis edited, corrected or improved. Regardless, publicopinion about the trustworthiness of Wikipedia hasnot significantly improved. Furthermore, certainsceptics do not even change their opinion despite theresults of the comparison between EncyclopaediaBritannica and Wikipedia performed by themagazine Nature (Giles 2005). The comparisonconcentrated on 43 posts from both encyclopaediasand the results proved Wikipedia to be only slightlyless accurate than the commercial EncyclopaediaBritannica.Wikipedia is based on the fact that individualswork and collaborate, even if they do not know eachother. Together they create entries that represent the best effort of the entire group, and not merely thecontribution of a single person. The phenomenonwas described by Surowiecki (2005) as the wisdomof crowds.The number of posts in Wikipedia grows on adaily basis
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. At the end of February 2009, there were2,762,158 posts in English Wikipedia (25. 2. 2009)and by May of the same year, the number of content pages reached 2,870,805 (7. 5. 2009). Over onehundred thousand new content pages were added inmere two months and a half.Although Wikipedia is the most recognized wikienvironment, there are other interesting wikis
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 Wiktionary
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, Wikiquote
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, Wikibooks
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etc. Somewikis, like Wikipedia, are freely accessible andanyone can contribute to its content. However,certain profit and non-profit organizations use wikisoftware in order to manage internal unstructureddata. There are over 100 wiki software applications
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 on the market and most of them are open sourced.The most popular is MediaWiki
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that wasdeveloped to support free encyclopaedia Wikipedia.In addition to its public use, MediaWiki can also beused in restricted environments. For example,MediaWiki has been used by United States
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CSEDU 2010 - 2nd International Conference on Computer Supported Education
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Intelligence Community (IC) since 2006.Intellipedia
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, as they named their wiki, is not freelyaccessible and is used by IC analysts, workinggroups and engineers to collaborate and shareunstructured data
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. According to the IC report,»Intellipedia provides a cost-effective platform toaccess expertise whenever it resides across the IC«
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Wiki in Edu
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ation
In the previous chapter, we mentioned comparisons performed between free and commercialencyclopaedias. The comparison displayed thatWikipedia is slightly less accurate thanEncyclopaedia Britannica. Although it has been proven that the reliability of Wikipedia data is not aslow as presumed, teachers at all levels of educationwarn students not to use Wikipedia's data as the primary source for their assignments and projects.Wikipedia's data may be used only as a starting pointand complemented by other more reliable sources of information
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school textbooks, books, journals andother printed or internet sources. The new challengedealing with the use of Wikipedia in education rosefrom this doubt in the reliability of information provided by Wikipedia. Students may test Wikipediadata about a topic they are studying in class with theuse of other sources and consequently improve or correct the Wikipedia content if they find any errorsor deficiencies as a part of their homework. Theycan work either individually or in small groups.Furthermore, students may post results of their researches in the Wikipedia. With the usage of wikis, students learn how to publish the content andhow to develop and use collaborative skills, theylearn to negotiate with others in order to agree oncorrectness, meaning and relevance (Richardson2006, 65).Since wikis are easily accessible and allinformation and data can easily be managed andquickly updated, wikis may also be used as schooltextbooks. This idea was realised by the CaliforniaOpen Source Textbook Project (COSTP)
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. The aimof the COSTP project is to employ the advantages of open source content and innovative licensing tools toreduce California's K-12 textbook costs, to increasetheir content and to avoid the shortages of K-12
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textbooks. Some of the freely accessible textbooksfrom Wikibooks
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can also be used in either real or web based classrooms. Free access to a wide rangeof textbooks is especially important for lessdeveloped countries where there is a lack of financial resources to prepare quality schooltextbooks. However, the textbook language maycause a serious obstacle in non-English speakingcountries.Introducing wikis in the learning process is anopportunity to introduce students to the concepts of open source software, community collaboration,respect for other people's ideas, intellectual propertyetc. (Richardson 2006, 67).Teacher may use wikis to take group lecturenotes, support group project management, perform brainstorming, prepare content that will later be published in others wikis, such as Wikipedia, andsupport collaborative work between teachers andemployees (Cole and Foster 2007, 165-166).In continuation, the use of wiki, as a tool tosupport collaborative student work, is presented.
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COLLABORATIVE WORKWITH MOODLE WIKI
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Stud
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nt Collaborativ
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Work
We have been using Moodle at our faculty from themoment we decided to implement e-learning,namely since the academic year of 2003/2004. Westarted to experiment with Moodle in the framework of the undergraduate course of e-business. E-learning is a type of e-business; therefore, the e- business course was the most appropriate course to be performed online. Students would thus learn thecourse topics through their own experiences usingthe Internet technologies. The Internet technologieswere used even before Moodle has been selected as

- business course, students prepare different groupassignments, which are individually graded and thentogether compose the final course grade. Studentsmay work in groups in different ways. They may prepare their group assignments working together inthe classical classrooms or they divide theassignments among the members and then completethe assignments at home. In the latter case, the groupleader combines the completed individualassignments. Irrespective of the way the studentsaccomplish their group assignments two main pro-
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BUSINESS STUDENT COLLABORATIVE WORK SUPPORTED BY MOODLE WIKI
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