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Wiki writing

Page history last edited by Jenny Waycott 14 years, 4 months ago

Small Group Discussion: Wiki Writing


This page is provided for recording small group discussions about assessing student wiki writing in higher education.




Robyn Benson

Geoffrey Crisp

Chris Hughes

Alison Ruth

Scribe: Celia Thompson



Discussion question: 

When university students are asked to demonstrate their learning by contributing to a wiki, what academic standards, and assessment and reporting practices are essential or desirable?




Scribe notes...


What do we do with wikis?


Running tikiwiki for complete course environment; ss write the textbook and complete personal reflection at end of semester separately to the work on the wiki; clean wiki each semester


Cumulative wikis over 2 years; peer review; reflections on peer reviews; edits become like a text book for the next ss.

Senior ss develop ‘virtual patients’.

Ss are developing ed. Resources for themselves


Group wikis; private to groups during task then open to others post – task assessment; debrief and reflection and review as part of the post-task process


Wikis for staff exchange of information on policy matters.

Need to clarify discussion focus of group: focussing on processing and product; wiki lends itself to this approach

Need to use discussion space within the wiki to look at individual contributions; discussion space used to justify reasons for ss’ comments on peers; ie this is part of the feedback; student who receives the edits has to then comments on these

Wikis good for assessing self, peers. What is assessed on the discussion section/contributions?

Concerns by some ss about possibilities of having their own work deleted; ss take a snapshot of their work before editing by others; tikiwiki is totally open; ss need freedom to make mistakes.

Chris : as part of every subject ss have to complete indvidual and group based assessment; using wikis just part of this process ss given topics: one they will write about and one that they will peer review

Alison: had 90 ss; ss from industry played mentoring role; some problems with internationlal ss who were unfamilrt with Australian expectations

Chris: use generic  grad. Attributes to align curriculum; all assignments put into Turnitin; ss can also do this so usually there is a low level of problems with ‘plagiarism’;

Robyn on ‘plagiarism’ : process of seing writing develop is a deterrent to plagiarism because ss see the writing texts emerge;

Chris discourages any cutting and pasting activity including tables.

Learning objectives: learning content; producing resources; learning about writing;  broader development of collaborative product; groupwork grad. attribute satisfied;

Assessment weighting: related to grad. attributes contributing to ss’ capabilities : evidence for portfolio over 2 years – some ss have been excluded from passing because of probs. With e-portfolio.: evidence of 2 capabilities: ‘Science’ and ‘Reflection’

(‘capabilities’ = grad. attributes)


50% on content (product) ; 25% on process (according to criteria); 25% on reflection either blog or word doc.

Role of authenticity? : real world type cases; use of simulation to mirror – real life situations

Robyn: stresses links between authenticity and industry based ss : the latter are able to rtanslate learning into real-life experinces

All tasks are criterion-referenced forms of assessment.

How to engage ss with understanding the purpose of the criteria?

Some ss are reluctant to edit/correct other ss’ work; some only make comments in the discussion page rather than as the text is evolving

Standards: how do ss know what to expect?

Ss  see previous examples of wikis in some courses but not in all; important to orient ss to using wikis; give them practise tasks and ss develop own ‘rules’ of working

Does task have some inherent worth or is it just  to address grad. attribute?

Needs to be more than convenience; some ss say they often research topics in more depth than usual because of audience and writing for peers; creating a real resource for current and future ss.

Getting ss to write textbook with wikis.

Ultimately what happens to the resource? For example, using professional bodies, resources to update material?

Importance of history function of wikis.

Issues of control: whose owns the wiki space? Do teaching staff go into the wiki?

If teachers are part of the wiki then ss also see that lecturers can make mistakes: importance of creating a shared environment: eg ss contributing to lecture slides: enhancing ss control.

Managing teacher-controlled traditional lecturing environments and student-centred wiki environment

Workload for assessors?

What is assessed?: Content/number of contributions/history/check sources through links they have created

Private vs public?

For some wikis are public – rationale is to mirror ‘real-world’ situation ; some private to the group until assessment is complete then allow each student group to view others; for some it is believed that by ‘fencing off’ others fewer risks will occur; one situation related where the ‘public’ worth of an assessment was determined by whether or not ss’ work once submitted to Wikipedia remained unedited for a week: if it did then ss passed.

There can be disciplinary variation and practices of wikis reflect values of professional practice: process of making ss work more ‘public’ can be gradual: open to small group first; larger group next.


For ss; for institution; for professional bodies.

How to measure ss’ contributions on wikis?

Tasks reflect different levels of complexity; word limits set; need to be linked back to objectives

Being able to see other ss’ work helps ss undertand what they are required to do.


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