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Wikis

Wikis

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What wikis are and how to use them are concepts explained in this document
What wikis are and how to use them are concepts explained in this document

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Published by: Andres Hunter Grandon on Jul 29, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/25/2012

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www.educause.edu/eli
12
Formerly NLII
more
7
things you should know about…
Wikis
Scenario
Sarah and her team have been working on their termproject since the second week o class. To make thingsgo more smoothly, Sarah introduced her teammates tothe concept o a wiki.
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She used a wiki last semesterand appreciated the way you can share and collaborateon documents without special sotware or training. Shealso liked the act that the wikis are Web pages, makinglinks to reerences very handy. The team members have done most o their work usinga wiki and conerence calls. They really like the act thatanyone on the team can browse and modiy the wikiwith nothing more specialized than a Web browser. Forconerence calls, one person posts a rough documentor an agenda online; the others correct and contributeto it in real time.Sarah and her team are impressed with how easy it isto add, modiy, or delete material rom the wiki. Thereis no HTML to learn or any programming interace tomaster. You simply click on the wiki page’s “Edit” buttonto begin to change the page’s content. A click o the“Save” button posts the changes back to the Web siteand updates the wiki, making the assembly o contentor the wiki easy and straightorward—everyone on theteam can read (and react to) inormation being gener-ated and add their modications or corrections. And,since their wiki lives on the Web, the team can work onthe assignment at any time, rom any location oeringan Internet connection. Sarah did caution her team tobe mindul o deleting inormation rom the wiki; she hadonce inadvertently wiped out someone else’s contribu-tion without realizing what had happened.Out o curiosity (and to get more reaction to their proj-ect), Sarah solicited input on her team’s work by pub-lishing the URL or the team’s wiki. In essence, she puttheir work-in-progress up or scrutiny by experts in theeld. The eedback has been positive so ar, with someconstructive suggestions about rewording and newcontent to consider. As a result, she is now sure theyhave completed a thorough investigation and eels thatthe team may have something to contribute to the eldbeyond just a class project.
 What is it?
 A wiki is a Web page that can be viewed and modied by any-body with a Web browser and access to the Internet. This meansthat any visitor to the wiki can change its content i they desire.While the potential or mischie exists, wikis can be surprisinglyrobust, open-ended, collaborative group sites.Wikis permit asynchronous communication and group collabo-ration across the Internet. Variously described as a compositionsystem, a discussion medium, a repository, a mail system, anda tool or collaboration, wikis provide users with both author andeditor privileges; the overall organization o contributions can beedited as well as the content itsel. Wikis are able to incorporatesounds, movies, and pictures; they may prove to be a simple toolto create multimedia presentations and simple digital stories. According to
The Wiki Way,
“‘[O]pen editing’ has some prooundand subtle eects on the wiki’s usage. Allowing everyday users tocreate and edit any page in a Web site...encourages democraticuse o the Web and promotes content composition by nontechni-cal users.”
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Because the user interace is amiliar—a Web pageon a personal computer—barriers to modiying wiki pages areminimal. Plus, the results o the users’ actions on the content o the site are instantly visible to other users.
 Who’s doing it?
 The rst wikis appeared in the mid-1990s. Scientists and engi-neers used them to create dynamic knowledge bases. Wikicontent—contributed “on the fy” by subject-matter specialists—could be immediately (and widely) viewed and commented on. Adapted as an instructional technology in the past ew years,wikis are being used or a wide variety o collaborative activities.In addition to compiling inormation, aculty and sta in highereducation use wikis as repositories or meeting notes. Agendaitems are contributed prior to a meeting; notes added during themeeting are saved in a public archive. The ability to export notesto Microsot Word makes reporting easy and adds versatility tothe meeting wiki. Some institutions are experimenting with wikisas e-portolios. Artiacts within a wiki-olio are easily shared whenthe wiki is used as a presentation tool.
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B. Leu and W. Cunningham,
The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration onthe Web,
Addison-Wesley: Boston, 2001, p. 15.
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The word “wiki” is not an acronym but rather (accordingto Ward Cunningham, currently at Microsot Corporation,who coined the term) “a [Hawaiian word] used as analliterative substitute or quick, to avoid naming this[sotware] quick-Web.” The name has now entered theInternet lexicon, along with other Web-based terms suchas blogs and podcasts.

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