Introducing wiki to students

It’s all very well having these grand ideas about using a personal wiki for students to prepare their assignments on, but I’ve hit a problem.

Will they understand what a wiki is, and how I want it to be used?

I’m sure they’ll be aware of Wikipedia -it’s a daily search for me, and I’m now in the habit when watching a tv prog or film of creating my own ‘red button’ (Ο) service in effect by surfing wikipedia, IMDB, etc. to find out information about the characters as they are on screen.

But of course I want them to edit the wiki, make links, connect to external resources etc. I am assuming that students have used a mark-up language, but nowadays with the ubiquitousness of products such as Dreamweaver and (shudder) Microsoft Publisher, this may not be so.

So I have a strategy… I’ll introduce the assignment and all the associated wikiness in week 1, the assignment is due at the end of week 10. If students are OK with the ideas, then great. If not then I’ll allow a fall back position of a more conventional Word Processed document, but with the same marking criteria. This is a ‘last resort’ however, I’m really keen to see how postgraduate students cope with the use of a wiki.

Incidentally, there’s a talk being given today as part of the university’s ‘moodle day’ about using the moodle wiki. Maybe someone else has already solved this problem.

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