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Wiki’s and Academic writing. Linda-Anne Alston. Literacy and knowledge production.

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literacy and knowledge production
Literacy and knowledge production
  • Literacy involves both becoming able to interpret information and becoming an adept participant in the construction of new knowledge. The production of media is a critical component of knowledge work…. Educational experiences should prepare students to become skilled collaborators and producers of knowledge, not mere consumers (Forte and Bruckman, 2007 & Bruns et al, 2005 cited by Devilee,2006)
  • Social software enables users to become publishers rather than just consumers of information (Cole, 2009)and this has led to the emergence of new kinds of academic genres and literacies (Kuteeva, 2011).
writing can be a powerful tool for constructing knowledge
Writing can be a powerful tool for constructing knowledge
  • Collaborative authoring of a wiki enables learner involvement in the construction of knowledge (Boulos et al, 2006 cited by Devilee,2006)and acts as a medium by which learners communicate and negotiate in their efforts to reach a shared understanding (Bruns, 2005 cited by Devilee,2006).
  • This process may include proposing new ideas, requesting evidence and synthesising divergent points of view (Scardmalia & Bereiter,1996 as cited in Forte & Bruckman, 2007).
  • Wiki’s can create a body of knowledge that can potentially be built on by future classes (Raman et al, 2005 as cited by Elgort et al, 2008)
collaboration constructivism and communities of practice
Collaboration, constructivism and communities of practice
  • Wenger (2006) advocates building communities of practice, which aligns closely with the contemporary collaborative paradigms of the social web
  • Using wikis ideally suited to Constructivist paradigm which sees knowledge and meaning as collaboratively constructed rather than given (Cole, 2009)
how wiki s work
How wiki’s work
  • Document mode: contributors create collaborative documentswritten in the third person & leave their additions to the document unsigned. These are edited & updated by multiple authors until the document becomes a representation of the shared knowledge of the contributors
  • Thread mode: Contributors carry out discussions in the wiki environment by posting signed messages. Others respond, leaving the threaded messages intact
  • Available 24/7: Asynchronous nature may enable the ‘quiet’ student to contribute more effectively enabling the application of different learning and communication styles (Elgort et al, 2008)
using wiki s as a writing tool tips
Using Wiki’s as a writing Tool: Tips
  • Necessary to build social capital (trust and reciprocity in the collaborative process) if wiki’s are going to work as a learning environment. The launch activity should lead to the development of a communication and comment culture.
  • Scaffolding/staging: indicates the phases & tasks, mode of interaction & timing of phases required of the collaborative process
  • The participants need to be in control of the content
  • Emphasise the quality of sources in the assessment criteria and the academic nature of contributions (Elgort et al, 2008)
  • Wiki should enable application of what participants know and learn and demonstrating this understanding in action (Elgort et al, 2008)
other uses of wikis
Other uses of wikis

Duffy and Bruns (2006) as well as Tonkin (2005) (cited by Parker and Chao, 2007) indicate:

  • Wikis are tools for group authoring/collaborative writing
  • Students can use a wiki to develop research projects, with the wiki serving as ongoing documentation of their work, building a knowledge base
  • Students can build a collaborative annotated bibliography on a wiki
  • Wikis can be used to map concepts, brainstorm ideas and edit a given topic
  • Wikis ease students into writing for a wider audience
  • Wikis discourage product oriented writing and facilitate writing as a process (Lamb, 2004)
  • Wikis used to write an argumentative essay (Kuteeva, 2011)
potential hindrances and disadvantages
Potential hindrances and disadvantages
  • Competition and fear of being stigmatized
  • Comfort with teacher centred instruction and discomfort with learner-centred course(Zurita, 2006 cited in Deters et al, 2010)
  • Need to shift students from the view of learning as the acquisition of facts to viewing it as the construction of understanding (Rick et al, 2006 cited by Devilee,2006)
  • Need for administration & authentication of access & backup of previous versions
  • Management of inappropriate contributions
  • Management of a potential information sprawl(Forte & Bruckman,2006)
  • All content is modifiable by any user & as such the wiki is forever evolving (Parker and Chao, 2007)
  • Privacy & plagiarism issues & the need to speak to a ‘real’ person when a problem arises (Khoo et al, 2012)

Augur, N., Raitman, R. & Zhou, W. 2004. Teaching and learning online with wikis. In R. Atkinson, C. McBeath, D. Jonas-Dwyer & R. Phillips (eds), Beyond the comfort zone: Proceedings of the 21st ASCILITE Conference(pp.95-104).Perth, 5-8 December.

Cole,M. 2009. Using Wiki technology to support student engagement: Lessons from the trenches. Computers & Education. 52,pp.141-146

Deters et al 2010

Devilee, A. 2006. Writings: Learning and teaching with Wiki’s. Instructional Design Australia Available [Online]… [Accessed 23/4/2013]

Elgort, I., Smith, A.G. & Toland, J. 2008. Is wiki an effective platform for group course work? Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(2), pp 195-210.

Forte, A. & Bruckman, A. 2006. From Wikipedia to the Classroom: Exploring Online Publication and Learning. ICLS, pp.182-188

Khoo, E.,Johnson, E.M., & Zahra, A. 2012. I learnt a whole lot more than churning out an essay: Using online tools to support critical collaborative inquiry in a blended learning environment. Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance learning, 16(1), pp127-140

Kuteeva,M. 2011. Wikis and academic writing: Changing the writer-reader relationship. English for Specific Purposes. 30, pp. 44-57

Parker,K.R. & Chao,J.T. 2007. Wiki as a teaching tool. Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects, 3, pp. 57-71.