Topics covered in this chapter include
  • What is a wiki?
  • Educational benefits of wikis
  • Pedagogy
  • Teamwork, collaboration, and online behaviour
  • Communication, organisation, and acknowledgement
  • Administration
  • Wiki models
  • Administration wiki
  • Class wiki (learning-focused)
  • Individual student wiki (learning-focused)
  • Special considerations for wikis
  • Choosing a wiki service
  • Successful wikis
  • Problems of collaboration and ownership
  • Edit wars
  • Concurrent editing
  • Scaffolding student wiki contributions
  • Assessing wikis: individual versus group grades
  • Wiki rubrics (success criteria)
  • Wikipedia
  • Wiki and blog comparison tables
  • General comparisons
  • Functional characteristics
  • Educational benefits
  • Classroom issues

For more detail, read Chapter 10 of Using Social Media in the Classroom. A best practice guide.

  • A wiki is a website that anyone can edit — in theory. You can set things up so that only you or a select team can edit pages.
  • Wikis can be public or private.
  • Each wiki page comes with a discussion forum where you can start up numerous threads about the page you have created or are working on.
  • Wikis have a ‘history’ function attached to each page you create, meaning that you can track what edits were made when and by whom.
  • Wiki pages can be restored to an earlier version if you don’t like the current version.

Wikis are suitable for
  • Analysis, synthesis, evaluation
  • Collaboration
  • Communication and knowledge sharing
  • Comprehension and knowledge building
  • Object sharing
  • Presentation and dissemination of information
  • Storing and managing information

Special considerations
  • See Using Social Media in the Classroom for special considerations regarding student wikis, including issues relating to edit wars, scaffolding student wiki contributions, assessing wikis, concurrent editing, and Wikipedia.


Wiki assessment rubrics

Handouts, checklists, and planning materials
Wiki plan
Planning form for designing a teaching and learning episode using a wiki.
  • Purpose of the wiki
  • Pedagogy and outcomes
  • Type of wiki
  • Student issues
  • Teacher issues
  • Time commitments
  • Evaluation and assessment

Checklist for choosing a wiki service
Specific checklist for helping you choose which wiki service is best for your classroom.
  • Bulk student accounts
  • Edit functions, rich media
  • Page moderation and locking
  • Includes the baseline checklist so you don't need to download two separate checklists.

What is a wiki?
Wiki FAQ handout for students.
  • What is a wiki?
  • What about Wikipedia?
  • How is a wiki organised?
  • Who can contribute to a wiki?
  • What are wikis about?
  • What is the philosophy of a wiki?
  • Should I change other people’s content?
  • What about errors that appear on a wiki?
  • What if there is disagreement about the content of a wikispace?

Ideas for use with your class
  • Use a wiki as a class management tool: create areas for course details (e.g., syllabus, assignments, course guide), class topics (topic 1, topic 2, etc.), study guide, resources.
  • Ask students to form into small groups and to build a wiki space around a set topic. Use the history function to check individual stsudents’ progress — for example, you can see who has been making substantive contributions to the wiki, and who has just been adding commas. Have students present their wiki to the rest of the class.
  • Ask students to use the discussion forum part of a wiki to justify their selection of page content.
  • Get your class to write a Wikipedia page on a topic that doesn’t have an article yet.
  • Send students to Wikipedia and have them analyse the development of an article on a controversial topic (e.g., Israeli-Palestinian conflict, George W. Bush). Ask them to look through the discussions that sit behind the article and have them trace major sticking-points, or the ways in which consensus was achieved. Get them to write a report on the issue.
  • There are more ideas for use with your class in Chapter 10 of Using Social Media in the Classroom.

Sites, applications, and tools
external image wikispaces.png
external image PBworks_Logo.png

Further reading
  • Eteokleous, N., Ktoridou, D., and Orphanou, M. (2014) Integrating wikis as educational tools for the development of a community of inquiry. Special issue: papers presented at the 2013 International Conference on Information Communication Technologies in Education (ICICTE), American Journal of Distance Education, 28(2), 2014.
  • Fu, H., Chu, S., and Kang, W. (2013) Affordances and constraints of a wiki for primary-school students’ group projects, Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 16(4), 85–96. Retrieved from
  • Lia, X., Chub, S. K. W., and Kib, W. W. (2014) The effects of a wiki-based collaborative process writing pedagogy on writing ability and attitudes among upper primary school students in Mainland China, Computers & Education, 77, pp. 151–169.
  • Reich, J. (2013) Confronting the paucity of collaborative behavior: using large-scale content analysis to define and measure student collaboration in U.S., K-12 wikis, Social Science Research Network. Retrieved from
  • Schulze, N. (2014) The use of wikis in education. A review of the literature, Blended Learning in Practice, Spring, pp. 52–66.
  • Woo, M. M., Chu, S. K. W., and Li, X. (2013) Peer-feedback and revision process in a wiki mediated collaborative writing, Educational Technology Research and Development, 61(2), pp. 279–309.