Wiki Pedagogy/About Research

Wiki wonderingsEdit

Many of these issues pose fundamental — if not radical — questions for higher education, and, as such, merit considerable discussion. Several references are included for those who wish to peruse some of these wiki-related theoretical and methodological underpinnings. Authority

Wikis are challenging traditional notions of authority and the criteria of academic legitimation (Barton, 2004a, 2004b; Lamb, 2004). According to Barton (2004a), "legitimation in the wiki world is not solved by censorship," and wiki " does not find its authority in the credentials of authors; indeed, the entries quickly become autonomous from individual authors and take on their own existence. They are always developing as new collections of individuals aim to refine or destroy them; but each edit only pushes upwards. Gradually the entries connect with one another and thus bring together communities of wiki authors."

  • InsurgenceEmergenceConvergence: the broad theme of the talk was disruptions in higher education at the fringes of emergent technology. Deleuze: postcript to the societies of control.
  • The peer review process so highly valued in academia has been seriously challenged by wiki's open authorization. An excellent depiction of the consequences of wiki work and peer review is offered by Klemm.
  • Wide Open Spaces: Wikis, Ready or Not


Wikis discourage the feeling of authorship and the building of subjectivity. As Barton (2004a) points out, they are not good for those struggling to find their voice and authority. Blogs may prove to be a better tool for this.

Wikis can be created by multitudes of people. Excessive degrees of consensus can foster mediocrity, creating bland discourse (Hopper, 2003, cited in Murihead, 2004). Could this lead to "group think"? For an interesting discussion on the potential and perils of "crowding," see The wisdom of crowds.

  • WikiAsCulture
  • When the audience is the producer: The Art of Collaborative Writing.
  • Social literacies: the use and complications of writing by many authors in social contexts such as wikis, by Ulises Ali Mejias.

Communal constructivismEdit

  • Students constructing learning for as well as with others.
  • Communal Constructivism and Networked Learning: Reflections on a Case Study.
  • Scrimshaw: Is Communal Constructivism the best approach?

Community and collaborationEdit

  • A critique of Discourses on collaborative networked learning by Catherine Edwards.
  • For a critique of community, see Daignault (2005c) in the References section.
  • Connecting Community: On and Offline.
  • Studying online social networks: For a wide variety of links, see Barry Wellman.
  • For aspects that may undermine on-line communities, see The economies of online cooperation : gifts and public good in cyberspace.

Democracy revisitedEdit

  • Giorgio Agamben, "We Refugees," translated by Michael Rocke.
  • The novelty of the coming politics is that it will no longer be a struggle for the seizure and control of the state, but the fight between state and non-state (humanity): an unbridgeable disjunction of the singularity from state organisation, as articulated in Agamben's the coming community.

Ethical concernsEdit

Requiring students to make their work public (we do not post their grades publicly) evokes concerns about whether a future employer might go back and see how someone fared. Intermediate measures might be to subsequently delete work, or to insist upon a form of identification known only to the professor. Impossible public goods

Open source principles are applicable to a wide variety of activities, and models for their application and adaptation are evolving as experience is accumulated through different projects. This emerging experience provides a fertile ground for future research and a plethora of opportunities for new initiatives (Mateos et al, 2003). Open source, non- proprietary models, impossible public goods

  • The Cathedral and the Bazaar Linux is subversive. Then, Linux: A Bazaar at the Edge of Chaos Raymond's evolutionary view is given an extended and more formal treatment under the terms of chaos and complexity, and chaos and complexity under the terms of sociology.
  • Creative Commons
  • Incsub: Open Source for Education
  • Applying the open source development model to knowledge work

Pedagogical concernsEdit

  • Assessment — Necessary assessment areas and processes for assessing student needs. Assessing Student Needs in Web-Based Distance Education.
  • Censorship — Fear of how the message will be received inhibits critical expression.
  • Challenges — Contemporary On-line Education Challenges.
  • Collaboration — Students often do not know how to collaborate or resist collaborating (especially from certain disciplines like engineering, math, and computer science) (Guzdial, 2002, cited in Synteta, 2002).
  • Communication — Anxiety is paramount, and the lack of facial clues is problematic. There is a fear of writing, and the traces that remain. (Reference: Category Wiki-1 by Walden Mathews).
  • Creativity — Encouraging Creativity in Student Online Work. Helping the on-line student break "out-of-the-box."
  • Effort — Students who have to work with other students who are less motivated than themselves is a prevalent concern (Horman, 2005).
  • Learning theories — Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, Reconceptualisation of the Teaching and Learning Process through Computer-Mediated Frameworks.
  • Non-linearity — Many students are still not used to non-linear navigation (Reference: Category Wiki-1 by Kyle Brown).
  • Open-ended work — How to work effectively in an open-ended setting when students still want to provide the right answer (Muirhead and Seaton, 1993, cited in Muirhead, 2004)?
  • Peer2Peer — Questions of P2P worth given the potential misinformation, "group-think" mentality, and dominating learners therein (Garrison and Anderson cited in Muirhead, 2004).
  • Retooling — Extremely easy to change tools but not to change practice (James, 2004a).
  • Skills — Students lack the necessary self-monitoring skills to work on-line (Hannafin, Hill and Land, 1997, cited in Muirhead, 2004).
  • Writing — What are the effects (pros and cons) of open editing on students' writing processes and styles?

Technical issuesEdit

Other than the initial two concerns (Fountain, 2005a; 2005b), these technical issues are taken from References Category Wiki-1, Category Wiki-3, Category Wiki-5 and Category Wiki-8. Authors are identified if their names were indicated on the wiki page.

  • Wiki as research database: Some wikis (databases) have an embedded "end time." This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to verify for data storage and retrieval in research. However, note that this only poses a problem for recent changes to the pages Systematic backups make this risk minimal. Systematic backups are also important so that any spam can be eradicated.
  • Wiki citations: Quoting within wikis is challenging, since given versions can rapidly change. It is necessary to cite particular versions.
  • Edit box empty: In some browsers, if there is too much text (more than 32k characters), the edit box is empty even though the page is full of text. Solution: Try a different browser like Firefox, etc.
  • Version changes: Wikis normally do not show changes in a given version, they simply record the new version. ThoughtsWeaver has a differentiating engine for visualizing incremental change.
  • Concurrent editing : Wikis can conflate sequential revisions coming from one user into just one revision, making it appear as if all changes were done at one time when they might have taken place over weeks. This is a problem when one wishes to track incremental changes over time. One possible solution is Zope, which keeps track of unlimited versions, uses transactions to handle write-write conflicts and has a namespace system that is both flat and hierarchical (Zope Does Wiki by reference: Category Wiki -5; see Terry Shumway).
  • Page deletion: Edits from a single IP are rolled into a single change, so a person from one IP can't irretrievably delete material (Reference: Category Wiki -5). However, IP level blocking is simple to enable.

Virtual Learning EnvironmentsEdit

For comments on virtual learning environment for the future, see Scott's blog entry (January 17, 2005) titled The VLE of the future.

Wiki Commentaries and CritiquesEdit

A wiki is a primitive newsgroup format; its formatting is primitive, the presentation is boring and the (traditional) lack of security is unworkable. See John Passaniti for a response to these critiques (References, Category Wiki-1). Richard Kulisz (2003) writes about Why Wiki Works Not.

  • The Guardian
  • All About Wikis
Last modified on 25 January 2010, at 17:05