7 June 02004

Wikis and learning

I don't fully understand the technology that underpins what a wiki is and this article on educational wikis doesn't fully enlighten me. But it doesn't assume any knowledge, and is reasonably concise.

It's important to remember that the web as we know it provides only a limited subset of the features that were envisaged and developed for early hypertext systems. Wikis, like blogs, provide a means to manage the content of web pages without needing detailed web authoring knowledge. The unique feature of wikis appears to be their support for collaborative authoring.

This article focuses on the educational application of wikis only in the relatively limited context of universities. Clearly there are wider possibilities, including — as the paper mentions — the support wikis can provide for communities of practice. This could include the communities that share interests in particular collections, or just fans of a particular band.

In terms of design ideology, wikis are clearly at the 'bazaar' end of the cathedral vs bazaar spectrum. As such the instinctive (to some people) concern is that of control and how well wikis can scale up to large groups over long time periods. It's natural to have doubts about this, but endeavours such as the Wikipedia provide at least circumstantial evidence of scaleability.

Posted by David Jennings in section(s) E-learning, Human-Computer Interaction, Social Software on 7 June 02004 | TrackBack

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Posted by: David Jennings on 22 September 02004 at 11:10 AM
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