Collaborating with Wikis in the Instructional Design Process

By James A. West.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This case study examined the online collaboration efforts of students in a multimedia instructional design course. Collaborative writing tools, such as wikis, are well suited to supporting meaningful learning and promoting critical thinking. Wikis offer a shared environment where students can actively participate in the integration and co-creation of knowledge. Wiki technology can be harnessed to foster dynamic online learning communities where students come together around a shared goal. Wiki community members use the shared space to write, discuss, comment, edit, reflect, evaluate, and ultimately complete a shared outcome. While wikis hold great promise for learning, without planning, design, and effective facilitation, a wiki is no more than an empty web page. The purpose of the case study was to determine how well students actually collaborated using a wiki. Students were provided a rich scenario involving multiple departments and colleges across campus. Observations of collaborative activity were made, and the quality of group outcomes was measured. Student reactions were generally positive: online collaboration tools helped them work together to meet group goals. In addition, the wiki environment helped to assuage typical fears of group projects, such as division of group work and non-participation of individual group members.

Keywords: Wiki, Collaboration, Critical Thinking

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.149-156. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.121MB).

Dr. James A. West

Associate Professor, Instructional Design and Technology, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois, USA

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Instructional Design and Technology at Western Illinois University. I have taught online courses at WIU as well as at Northern Illinois University. I have also designed and developed elearning courses for companies such as Sears, Unext, and Career Education. My book (co-written by Margaret L. West) entitled Using Wikis for Online Collaboration is currently in press through Jossey-Bass. I have presented at many conferences, including ISPI, ISPI Europe, AECT, ASTD, the International Distance Learning Conference, and the International Essen Symposium.


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