Puzzled by wikis and blogs
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Puzzled by Wikis and Blogs?. Presented by: Cynthia Williamson & Jenn Horwath Library @ Mohawk Connections Conference, May 2, 2007. Puzzle Pieces. Wiki defined Wikis in action Wikipedia: Wikiality/Wikilobbying Roll your own wiki. Wiki defined. Collaborative website that is easy to update

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Puzzled by wikis and blogs

Puzzled by Wikis and Blogs?

Presented by: Cynthia Williamson & Jenn Horwath

Library @ Mohawk

Connections Conference, May 2, 2007

Puzzle pieces

Puzzle Pieces

  • Wiki defined

  • Wikis in action

  • Wikipedia: Wikiality/Wikilobbying

  • Roll your own wiki

Wiki defined

Wiki defined

  • Collaborative website that is easy to update

  • Means “quick” in Hawaiian – quick to update webpages

  • Free software, web-based

What is a wiki

What is a Wiki?

  • Best known wiki: Wikipedia

  • Uses open source wiki software (MediaWiki)

  • Typical wiki:

    • Anyone can edit any entry – many contributors

    • Log in to make changes

    • Discussion page for all content

Puzzled by wikis and blogs


Features of wikis

Features of Wikis

  • Easy to update – no HTML needed

  • Collaborative: can identify who made what changes

  • Version control: can restore older versions and see history of changes

  • Discussion feature: can discuss a page in a discussion area

Anatomy of a wiki

Anatomy of a Wiki

Wikis in action

Wikis in action

Wikis in the workplace

Wikis in the Workplace

  • Exposure to wiki technology and content is good for students’ resumes

  • Used in many offices for team projects: collaboration on anything from general project management to specifics like problem-solving product-design difficulties

  • Growing belief in collaboration tools as effective contributor to innovation and growth

  • Remember: Employers value teamwork – wikis are all about teamwork.

Wikiality wikilobbying


  • Stephen Colbert show on Comedy Central

  • Funny & surprisingly profound commentary on Wikipedia

  • The Word: Wikilobbying

Ah how times have changed

Ah, How times Have Changed

  • Dec 2005, re the Nature study: “We’re very pleased with the results and we’re hoping it will focus people’s attention on the overall level of our work, which is pretty good” Jimmy Wales

  • Jan 2007: “…if you do care to represent yourself as something, you have to be able to prove it. This policy will be coupled with a policy of gentle (or firm) discouragement for people to make claims like those that EssJay made, unless they are willing to back them up.” Jimmy Wales

Wikipedia credibility

Wikipedia & Credibility

  • Wikipedia vs. Encyclopedia Britannica in Nature, Dec. 2005

  • Did Wikipedia really win?

  • BBC article about the Nature research

  • C Net news article about Britannica's response

Wikipedia s latest credentialism problems

Wikipedia’s LatestCredentialism Problems

  • Regular and respected contributor Essjay turns out to be just a 23 year old with a lot of time on his hands rather than a credentialed theologian.

  • Founder Jimmy Wales defends him at first but eventually has to let him go – not for lying to the media but for lying to the Wikipedia community.

New definition of literacy

New Definition of Literacy

  • “This explosion of online content demands a more complex definition of what it means to be literate… Now that anyone with an Internet connection can publish and disseminate content with no editorial review process, consumers of Web content need to be editors as well as readers…We must teach students how to actively question and evaluate published information instead of passively accepting it as legitimate.”

    Will Richardson (www.weblogg-ed.com)

Should students cite wikipedia

Should Students Cite Wikipedia?

  • No clear answer: “it depends”

  • Often a great place to start or get background (Like most encyclopedias)

  • Can be useful for current/emerging technologies or new research e.g. downgrading of Pluto to a dwarf planet

  • Not something that should regularly appear in bibliographies (Like most encyclopedias)

Using wikipedia in the classroom

Using Wikipedia in the Classroom

  • Students can contribute to or create or alter an article

  • Ask them to find an article in Wikipedia and then verify it or refute it using library resources

  • Use Wikipedia article citations for more information

  • Bottom line: Use is situational, tell students to use it with a critical eye & try to verify what they find in a more credible resource



  • Wikipedia written by experts and authorities.

  • Created as a result of a dispute between two Wikipedia founders

  • Also created because of Wikipedia’s credentialism problems

  • Looks physically like Wikipedia

  • @1,600 articles as of April ’07 (over 1 million on Wikipedia)

  • Still about collaboration but no anonymity

  • More expensive to maintain and grow than Wikipedia.

Citizendium our students

Citizendium& our students?

  • No anonymity, it is a more credible source

  • Still an encyclopedia and best for initial explorations & fact-finding

Creating wikis in the classroom

Creating Wikis in the Classroom

  • Easy to set up a group project

  • History – can see/assess who is participating

  • Built-in discussion area – encourages participation

  • Faculty projects – for e.g. course mapping, policy documents, etc.

Creating wikis in the classroom1

Creating Wikis in the Classroom

  • Group work repositories – can view content after course has finished

  • Group work presented on a wiki is easily shared with everyone in the class

  • Examples:

    • King Lear screenwriting project

    • Study hall

Issues to be aware of

Issues to be aware of

  • Anyone can write to it – be careful of abuse

  • Privacy when student work is online – lock down with password

  • Need to plan the navigation ahead of time

Roll your own wiki

Roll your own Wiki

  • Mediawiki http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki (need server, same software as Wikipedia)

  • PBwikihttp://pbwiki.com/

  • Wetpainthttp://www.wetpaint.com/

  • Wikispaces http://www.wikispaces.com/

  • SeedWiki http://www.seedwiki.com/

  • Zoho Wiki http://wiki.zoho.com

More than just wikis

More than just Wikis!

  • Depends on your need…

    • Google Documents and Spreadsheets


    • Zoho Writer/Zoho Sheet


  • For formatted documents

  • Word/Excel documents

  • Import documents already created

More than just wikis1

More than Just Wikis!

More than just wikis2

More than Just Wikis!

Maybe blogs are for you

Maybe Blogs are for You?

  • One way communication

  • Comments feature to get feedback

  • Communication not collaboration tool

  • Repository of your communications to your class with archive/search box

  • Can add useful links, categorize your posts



  • Free, easy to set up (no HTML required)

    • Bloggerhttp://www.blogger.com

    • Wordpresshttp://www.wordpress.com

    • Edublogshttp://edublogs.org/

    • Morehttp://supportblogging.com/Blogging+Options+for+Educators

Examples of blogs

Examples of Blogs

  • BRAIN_blog http://librarybrainblog.wordpress.com

  • Curtis Bonkhttp://travelinedman.blogspot.com/

  • Weblogg-ed


  • OLDailyhttp://www.downes.ca/news/OLDaily.htm

  • More http://www.bloglines.com/public/wrichard

Further reading

Further Reading…

  • http://del.icio.us/electriclibrarian/wikis_in_education

  • Richardson, Will. "The Educator's Guide to the Read/Write Web." Educational Leadership 63.4 (2006): 24-27. Academic Search Premier. 30 April 2007. http://search.ebscohost.com.

  • "New Technologies Help Build Learning Communities. (Cover story)." Distance Education Report 10.13 (2006): 1-6. Academic Search Premier. 30 April 2007. http://search.ebscohost.com.

  • Achterman, Doug. "beyond wikipedia." Teacher Librarian 34.2 (2006): 19-22. Academic Search Premier. 30 April 2007. http://search.ebscohost.com.

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