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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 need to be reflected in students’ project work. The use of Wikis has been posited as a tool for collaborative online knowledge creation, increasing engagement, and social constructivism (Wheeler and Wheeler, 2008). The use of wikis in student groups is still relatively new, however, and the need for deeper 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 utilised an action research methodology, with the aim of improving professional practice (Mc Niff and Whitehead, 2010). The research was evaluated using a questionnaire, which was administered anonymously using an online survey tool (www.surveymonkey.com), using mostly open-ended questions. This was triangulated through wiki contribution measurement and instructor observation using field notes.
From a theoretical point of view, the students’ responses demonstrate the enhancement of the groups’ collaboration, improved communication and social construction of knowledge. From the students’ point of view, feedback was generally positive about the experience. Managing the introduction of third level assessment expectations, working in groups, and the wiki technology posed challenges for the instructor.
In conclusion, positive outcomes in supporting student collaboration, engagement and deepening learning emerged from the research, along with implications for further enhancement of the students learning experiences in future assessments. Further examination of the individual members’ contribution levels warrants further study, while the role of the instructor as moderator of the wiki also deserves exploration.
Hughes, K.: The Wiki Way: Supporting Collaborative Learning for First Year Students. In: Proceedings of EDULEARN 2011, Barcelona, Spain. 4-6 July, 2011.