The folks at PBWiki.com have created an Educators’ Wiki that includes a number of useful resources for those who are using wikis in their classes. I’ve used the PBWiki platform in my classes before with good success, but it is just one of many possible wiki platforms out there. I do like the page on wiki etiquette for students, because it offers them a pretty comprehensive guide to how to use and behave on a wiki site. For me this will be particularly important in coming semesters because I’m considering having my students create a class wiki in the fall rather than me setting up a blog site as I have in semesters past.
Since I’ve been so happy with blogs (and have written about my happiness numerous times here), why would I change to a wiki? Part of the reason is that I’m one of those instructors who is constantly changing things in my classroom, always looking for the best way to get my students learning what I want them to learn. But in this particular instance, the main reason is that I’m still finding the blog conversation in my classes to be a little artificial. The students still mostly use the blog to answer questions I pose, rather than taking off and writing for themselves.
So my hope is that with a wiki they may just take control of the class website themselves, deciding what content should be included, amended, etc. And the creation of a wiki will help them understand even more how larger wiki projects like Wikipedia work. I will continue to require them to write a Wikipedia entry as I have done in semesters past, but this time around that assignment will be more of a warm up for the main online work of the semester.