Wiki Pedagogy/Production

How to wiki

All wiki software comes with a "How to wiki" section. Extensive documentation, bugs and requests for new additions are typically located on the home page of the wiki software in question. "How to" documentation is generally available in a variety of languages. This section presents some of the general possibilities offered by most wikis, as well as some initial descriptions of what it means to work (write, edit and publish) in wiki spaces. Remember, wikis are designed to be simple, so that they can be uploaded and altered both quickly and openly. Their strength lies in this simplicity. Pedagogical guidelines for effective integration are located in the Pedagogical Potential section. Some examples of how wikis have been used creatively in higher education are found in the Examples section . General options

All pages can be edited by clicking on the EDIT link at the bottom of the given page:

or at the top (right) of the page:

All pages have a RecentChanges link wherein you can see all previous versions of the text. No, nothing is lost!

They all come with a Sandbox where people can practice without worry.

They all come with a page explaining their FormattingRules. (Note: these are always VERY simple).

They all use a WikiWord format to create new pages. This is a word with a mixture of upper and lower case letters using a minimum of two capital letters with no spaces (and no accents).

And, finally, WikiPages that are empty (nothing in them yet) are always followed by a question mark after the WikiPageName. When you click on the question mark you get an empty page that looks like this:

How to resources

For beginners, BriefIntro (by Ralph Mellor) offers all the information one needs, as well as a tutorial. Mellor also offers links to issues that matter on a longer-term basis. For some of the more elaborate possibilities of wikis, for example, to know more about Deletion Conventions, see explanations offered on the OneMinuteWiki. For those interested in wiki page design, Ward Cunningham outlines a number of important underlying principles.

However, in spite of these very complete descriptions, a brief orientation about how to wiki work follows. How to begin

Creating new wiki pages is extremely simple [1].

First, click the EditText or Edit link on an existing page.

Second, create a WikiWord to create a new hypertext page. This consists of creating a single word containing a minimum of two capital letters. For example, if you wanted to create your own wiki page within an existing wiki page, you might decide to put your two names together. For example, Richard Stallman would become RichardStallman. But you could also create a longer, more descriptive WikiName. To use the same example, Stallman might create his WikiPage name as: "RichardStallmanTheGreat" or "GNUManStallman". What is essential is that any given WikiName used to create a new wiki page must contain at least two capital letters and have no spaces [2].

Third, when your WikiWord is created, simply click on the Save button. The page that you have just edited will now show your new WikiPageWord. It will be followed by a question mark. This means there is no text on this page, and that it is still empty. Simply click on the question mark to have access to this new page. To edit it, simply repeat the first step outlined above. That is, click the EditText or Edit link. You can copy-and-paste text from your text editor.

In terms of navigation, every time you type an existing WikiWord, an automatic link is made to the page with that title within the local wiki database. An interesting wiki option is that you can click any page title to see a list of all the pages that link to the page within the local wiki database. Hypertext links to other sites can be typed directly; no formatting is necessary. Make yourself known

Create your own WikiHomePage by creating a page with your name (follow the steps above). This automatically creates a UserName for yourself that will show up in RecentChanges. If you login before creating/editing, it can be used as a WikiSignature (to use when appropriate or if you would like to). You can then type this name on any other wiki page (within your wiki database) and a link to your HomePage will automatically be created. Most wikis have login capacities.

Real names are preferred. Yes, it is easy to use someone else's name. Please don't, but don't assume that signatures have any significance other than simple politeness. How to write

The Wikipedia neutral point of view policy (NPOV) states that one should write articles without bias, representing all views fairly. The neutral point of view policy is easily misunderstood. The policy doesn't assume that it's possible to write an article from just a single unbiased, "objective" point of view. The policy says that we should fairly represent all sides of a dispute, and not make an article state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct.

When editing you are advised to:

1) Be bold in your editing!

2) If you find a block of text in need of a clearer, simpler explanation — and you have one — then supply it. And finally...

What about security? There is no security at all. Anyone could jump in and delete content. Some things might get restored. Don't worry about it; it's part of WhyWikiWorks. See WhyNobodyDeletesWiki. Security is pointless in this particular software. Some advice from old-timers

On this Advice from Old-timers page, they suggest three things to do before editing or adding pages:

   * Read about aspects such as GoodStyle and WikiEditingCustoms. Or simply read various pages to get the feel of Wiki before you start editing.
   * Follow WikiSocialNorms should you wish to be respected by other WikiZens.
   * Play nice.

A reminder

Pedagogical guidelines for effective integration are located in the Pedagogical Potential section. Some examples of how wikis have been used creatively in higher education are found in the Examples Section.

[1] However, there is a sandbox if you simply wish to practice. Remember, any text can easily be undone in a wiki; that includes what you deem to be your mistakes!

[2] Obviously one would think that the principal disadvantage of having too long a WikiPageName is directly related to one's memory retention, that is, if the PageName should ever get forgotten. But this is not an obstacle in wikis, since no text is lost. Each change and each version is archived into a history. Clicking on the RecentChanges feature will give you the latest versions, recuperating what seems lost but which is simply no longer visible.

Last modified on 25 January 2010, at 17:21