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*pedagogy, Social sciences
Skills in working in teamwork are demanded from graduates, and these are ever more likely to be over the internet. Horizon (2011) calls for this experience to be reflected in students’ project work. The use of Wikis has been posited as a tool for collaborative online knowledge creation, increasing students levels of engagement, and social constructivism (Wheeler and Wheeler, 2009: Lai and Ng, 2011). The use of wikis in student groups is still relatively new, however, and the need for investigation of its role in supporting group collaboration has been identified in literature (Bruen, et al., in Donnelly, Harvey and O’ Rourke, 2010).
This study offers a contribution to the practice of online collaboration, and should be of interest to instructors who use group work in their teaching, as well as those who wish to explore the application of web 2.0 tools, or wikis specifically, in enhancing learning.
Wikis were adopted to support a collaborative group project in the final (fourth) year of a general Business degree for an optional Marketing Communications module in the Dublin Institute of Technology. The wiki was chosen in response to some concerns about the assessment. Issues such as poor progress, last minute action, lack of meaningful collaboration, and inability of the instructor to track progress or identify problems, all arose in the past. For all of these reasons, along with the desire to integrate Web 2.0 tools into assessment, the wiki was adopted.
The students were surveyed after completion of the project regarding: how the wiki was used (method and functionality), participation levels of the group (also measured through the wiki itself), whether they believed the wiki added value for the assessment, and finally challenges encountered and recommendations.
Responses demonstrate the enhancement of the groups’ collaboration, improved communication and social construction of knowledge. The feedback was generally positive about the experience. Practical issues such as ‘one version of the project’, and being able to view each others’ progress, and avoid repetition, were perceived as adding value to the process. It was viewed by many groups as an efficient and effective mechanism of developing a group assessment that they would like to use again. The study indicates that many positive benefits (for both students and instructors) can be gained from embedding a wiki into a group activity.
Hughes, K. (2012). “The Wiki Way: Supporting Collaborative Learning”. In: Proceedings of the International Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management, 2012. Limerick, Ireland.