Wikis are a sort of social software, which allow you create a website where other people can easily edit and add content.
You may be thinking about using a wiki to support your course, to share information with colleagues, or, for example, as a repository for service information of some kind.
Wikis can be very useful and powerful tools. But before jumping in, consider if they are the right technology for you.
You may find a wiki useful if:
- You have a large group of users
- You have an initiative which require a large number of people to each add good amounts of content to one place, and to edit each others’ content
- Your initiative runs over a good period of time
- There is a clear purpose to the object itself: What is the wiki for? How will people use it? How will it be integrated into the fabric of your course/service?
If you don’t have the above requirements, you may be better off thinking about using standard webspace, or the College’s Virtual Learning Environment.
An example where a wiki might be useful: you have a course of 150 students who are expected as part of their study to contribute ideas, reviews, original content of whatever kind. Their peers are then expected to review, comment on and further edit that content, and the resulting resource will run over coming years as a resource for the course.
An example where a wiki would be less useful: You have a large amount of course content and want to organise and deliver it online. Communications and publications are one way: from you to your students.
Here’s some more information about using wikis in HE: http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/social-software/wiki
If you want to start or play with a wiki:
There is no ‘homegrown’ wiki service at QM, so – after giving due consideration to the kind of data you’re going to have published in the wiki – you’re going to have to use an external one.
There are many out there free to use. One which is favoured by some in HE is Wetpaint. You can start your wiki up in under 5 minutes and it looks to be very easy to use. Users can also publish video, pictures, participate in discussions etc.
If you would like to have a play, either set one up yourself, or have a play with the Wetpaint wiki we’ve set up in the Distance and E-Learning Unit at QM: http://deluwiki.wetpaint.com/. There’s very little content there as it’s for demo purposes, but it’s set up so that anyone can edit and publish new pages. Have a go and leave a comment here (below this post) or there (on the wiki) to let us know how you find it.