Wikis and Other Collaborative Writing Spaces

Pavel Zemliansky School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication

Wikis in Plain English
by Commoncraft

Let us consider the following statements...

grassroots video collaboration webs data mashups mobile broadband collective intelligence

social operating systems

...just two days ago, Microsoft’s chief software architect Ray Ozzie acknowledged that "Over the past 10 years, the PC era has given way to an era in which the Web is at the center of our [technology] user experiences...”

“Collaborative writing is an important element of the virtual workplace. While it is sometimes enough to e-mail a document back and forth between authors and editors, users frequently need a more effective solution”
Youngblood and West. “Collaborative Writing Tools in the Virtual Workplace.” The Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices. Eds. Zemliansky and St. Amant is in the context of these arguments that we should consider...


Wiki bus at the Honolulu Airport

A wiki is a collaborative writing environment whose members work together on the creation of co-authored texts through joint invention, revision, and editing.

here is a slightly more “technical” definition of wikis: Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly.

writing in a wiki changes things...

traditional “authority” is supplemented by “collective wisdom”

collaboration supersedes individual authorship

the whole community of readers and writers assume responsibility for the quality of a text

wikis for learning and teaching

Strategies for Teaching with Wikis
• Understand the collaborative nature of wiki
projects and help students to understand it, too. explanations of standards to students. text, even if something is incorrect

• Provide detailed instructions and

• Resist the urge to go in and change student • Instead, encourage revision and rethinking

onward, to examples of wiki-based writing projects

JMU needs a supported collaborative writing platform

Credits, etc.
Images used in this presentation are from Flickr, unless otherwise indicated. a pdf file with this presentation is available at

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