Best practices: Working with Wiki

As course builders and facilitators for online course we know that collaboration engagement and community building are wildly important. What are some ways in which you currently encourage these in your courses? Could any of these be more effective or efficient? How? In today’s blog we want to show you how to use Moodle™’s Wiki module to fit the bill!

The right tool for the job

Moodle™’s Wiki module can be a powerful tool for collaboration and it gives you (the course builder or facilitator) many options for creation so you get just the right fit. It also makes collaboration easy for students. Choices for you ease for students? Perfect!

  • A wiki invites users to edit any page or to create new pages within the wiki Website without any HTML knowledge required.
  • The entire class can edit a document together creating a class product or each student can have their own wiki and work on it with you and their classmates.
  • A defining characteristic of wiki technology is the ease with which pages can be created and updated. Generally there is no review before modifications are accepted.

Benefits of Wiki

“So what does a wiki really give me and my students?” you may be wondering. Great question! To answer it offers the following:

  • Easy tracking: It’s easy to keep track of what’s going on by viewing the “History” and “Comments” tab.
  • Additional motivation for students: Wikis give students additional motivation to do their best since they know their work will be viewed and critiqued by the public instead of just by their instructor.
  • Increase in reusing material/content: Students will know others will use and reference their work. It will not be just graded and filed away.
  • Low mental overhead: There is virtually no mentally-draining learning curves in using Wiki’s; students simply click the “Edit” tab and begin publishing their work.

Best practices for effective implementation

In looking to maximize the benefits of Wiki consider these best practices for effective implementation of Wiki activities:

  • Create several wiki’s for different purposes. Even the most well thought out activities can get boring when done over and over again. Vary the purpose to give students a new approach to a familiar tool.
  • Choose between "Individual wiki" where each student gets their own or "Collaborative wiki" where students work together on a single wiki.
  • Select activity completion settings to meet your goals.

Bright ideas

When considering how to incorporate the Wiki activity into your classroom consider these ideas as food for thought:

  • Group project management: The most straightforward use of a wiki is as a tool for collaboration on group projects. A teacher assigning a group project can give students a place to work by creating a wiki. As a best practice we encourage you not to use the wiki with group mode as it functions less than optimally. Instead give each group a separate page or wiki to work in. This will give each group their own space to record research to develop outlines and to create the final product.
  • Brainstorming: Brainstorming is a non-judgmental group creative process in which group members are encouraged to give voice to any ideas they personally consider relevant to the group exercise. In a face-to-face meeting a brainstorming facilitator will usually stand in front of a big piece of paper and elicit ideas from the participants in the room. A teacher can create an online version of this process by setting up a wiki for the entire class or for smaller student groups and asking people to submit ideas around a brainstorming topic. People can add ideas as they occur and link to other pages for elaboration.
  • Portfolio: Wiki’s can act as a summarizing activity for an entire semester’s worth of material. Rather than assigning individual assignments that tend to get graded and shuffled away give students the opportunity to keep everything in one convenient place.

In the spirit of collaboration and community building join us for a webinar this Thursday! Click here to register for “The Voice of Experience: Q&A with a TRAIN Master”. TRAIN Masters will answer questions about what the TRAIN product offers their institution in professional development and Moodle™ training opportunities including information on using Moodle™’s tools (like you’ve read above)!


~Laura Lea & Tara



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