A wiki is a shared online collaborative writing space to which multiple authors can contribute. One of the best known examples is Wikipedia.
Wikis allow students to collaboratively explore and write about different perspectives on a topic and may be used as part of group work or collaborative projects. Wikis can be published as an online artefact or “product” which can be shared and used after the assessment. They can also be used as part of a peer review process or as a resource to inform future work.
Typically used to….
- assess students’ knowledge and depth of understanding.
- assess students’ independent research skills, including the ability to source and evaluate information.
- assess students’ presentation and/or multimedia skills.
- facilitate collaborative content development and/or support group projects.
- facilitate peer review processes.
- develop student’s digital capabilities including digital communication and participation (JISC 2021).
Key considerations when contributing to a wiki as part of an assessment
When contributing to a wiki as part of an assessment, always refer to the guidelines and requirements provided by your lecturer, keeping the following points in mind:
- Make sure you know how to write, edit and publish your content on the wiki. If in doubt, ask your lecturer where you might find help.
- What is the purpose of the wiki? Is it being used or formative or summative assessment purposes (or both!)
- If your wiki contributes to your final grade (i.e. are being used for summative assessment), how much is it worth?
- What criteria is being used to assess your wiki? For example,
- Is it being assessed by quantity or length of contributions, or by the quality of your responses or both?
- Has a rubric been provided? Make sure you keep this mind when writing your content.
- What are the key points you need to cover in this wiki?
- What references, if any, do you need to include?
- Wikis are often used to support collaborative writing and group work where students contribute to, and peer review, eachothers’ work. This can be challenging because different writers will have different opinions and writing styles. Make sure to agree a strategy for how you are going to write successfully together. Think about how you are going to:
- divide up the research and writing tasks
- critique and provide feedback on your peers’ writing
- carry out edits on existing content
- See the Resources section below for some useful articles on this aspect of writing for wikis.
The VLE Wiki tool is accessible through Blackboard
External tools (unsupported by Trinity):
This resource from the University of Alabama provides an introduction to collaborative writing strategies. Although not specifically focused on wikis, the processes outlined here are relevant when using wikis to support group-based writing activities/assessment.
This article from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides useful tips for students engaging in collaborative writing processes. It provides an overview of the collaborative process, strategies for writing successfully together, and tips for avoiding common pitfalls.
A student perspective on wikis