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Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects

Volume 3, 2007

Wiki as a Teaching Tool
Kevin R. Parker Idaho State University Pocatello, Idaho, USA
parkerkr@isu.edu

Joseph T. Chao Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, Ohio, USA
jchao@bgsu.edu

Abstract
Wikis are one of many Web 2.0 components that can be used to enhance the learning process. A wiki is a webcommunication and collaboration tool that can be used to engage students in learning with others within a collaborative environment. This paper explains wiki usage, investigates its contribution to various learning paradigms, examines the current literature on wiki use in education, and suggests additional uses in teaching software engineering. Keywords: wiki, Web 2.0, collaborative learning,information and communication technologies, computer-mediated communication, e-learning, pedagogy, education, constructivism.

Introduction
Wiki is a major component of Web 2.0, the emergent generation of web tools and applications (Adie, 2006). Web 2.0 has the potential to complement, enhance, and add new collaborative dimensions to the classroom. Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis, podcasts,and RSS feeds have been dubbed 'social software' because they are perceived as being especially connected, allowing users to develop Web content collaboratively and open to the public (Alexander, 2006). Social software offers a variety of unique and powerful information sharing and collaboration features, acting as cognitive reflection and amplification tools, and aiding the construction of meaningthrough the act of self-design of knowledge databases (Jonassen, Peck, & Wilson, 1999). Wikis in particular actively involve learners in their own construction of knowledge (Boulos, Maramba, & Wheeler, 2006). Social software helps to realize the original vision of the Web as a space in which anyone can participate (Schaffert, Gruber, & Westenthaler, 2006). Web 2.0 tools are characterized by easeof use and rapidity of deployment, making possible powerful information sharing and straightforward collaboration (Boulos et al., 2006). Further, these tools afford the added advantage of reducing the technical skill required to use their features, allowing users to focus on the information exchange and collaborative tasks themselves without the distraction of a difficult technological environment(Kirkpatrick, 2006). Such 'transparent technologies' (Wheeler, Kelly, & Gale, 2005) let the user concentrate more on Material published as part of this publication, either on-line or in print, is copyrighted by the Informing Science Institute. the learning task by 'seeing through' the Permission to make digital or paper copy of part or all of these technology with which they are interactworks forpersonal or classroom use is granted without fee ing. provided that the copies are not made or distributed for profit
or commercial advantage AND that copies 1) bear this notice in full and 2) give the full citation on the first page. It is permissible to abstract these works so long as credit is given. To copy in all other cases or to republish or to post on a server or to redistribute to listsrequires specific permission and payment of a fee. Contact Publisher@InformingScience.org to request redistribution permission.

The term 'wiki' is derived from the Hawaiian phrase, wiki-wiki, which means quick. A wiki is a collaborative web site whose content can be edited by visitors to the site, allowing users to easily cre-

Editor: Alex Koohang

Wiki as a Teaching Tool

ate and editweb pages collaboratively (Chao, 2007). In essence, a wiki is a simplification of the process of creating HTML web pages in combination with a system that records each individual change that occurs over time, so that at any time a page can be forced to revert to any of its previous states. A wiki may also provide tools that allow the user community to monitor the constantly changing state of...
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