Wikis allow course members to contribute and modify one or more pages of course related materials, providing a means of sharing and collaboration. Users can create and edit pages quickly, while tracking changes and additions, allowing for effective collaboration between multiple writers. You can create one or more wikis for all course members to contribute to and wikis for specific groups to use to collaborate.
All course members can use the wikis tool to record information and serve as a repository for course information and knowledge. A course wiki is a vast source of information compiled by course members. Wikis can help build a community of collaboration and learning by increasing social interaction during the exchange of information.
Students use a wiki to collaborate on shared content from different times and locations. They can view previous changes, comment on content or changes, include new content, and revise existing content. Similar to the discussion board, you act as a facilitator instead of the provider of all course content. Unlike a blog, which can be quite personal, wikis require intense collaboration, where information is linked to and built upon.
Use Wikis to Assess Student Engagement
You can grade student contributions to a wiki or use it solely for course content review. In either instance, a student can contribute multiple pages to a single wiki and make unlimited revisions to pages submitted by any course member. You can also enable the group wiki tool to help groups share and interact.
You can view all changes to all pages in a wiki. You can view the changes at a high level, and you can drill down to see information about contributions by any individual.
Wikis in Action
A primary goal of using a wiki is to build a shared repository of knowledge. As the knowledge base grows over time, you can expect the wiki to have some degree of seriousness and permanence.
With dedicated use, you can use wikis to:
- Provide an easy to use environment for communication.
- Promote collaboration rather than competition.
- Foster a social and interactive approach to learning.
- Build partnerships where you can benefit from the strengths of others.
- Increase network building, trust, and negotiation skills.
- Provide support and prompt feedback.
- Provide a one-stop area where information is searched, updated, and accessed easily and quickly.
- Increase and enhance the possibility of creativity, spontaneity, and innovation through the application of reflective thinking.
You can use wikis as course content or graded assignments, such as:
- A glossary.
- A white paper.
- Class summaries and outlines.
- Connecting student writing to form a book.
- A resources repository.
- Lab experiments.
- Student solutions for scenarios and case studies.
- A research notebook.
- Group project presentations.
How to Create a Wiki Topic
Instructors create course wikis. Any course member can create pages, unless you intend to be the sole author and use the wiki as course content. Groups can also use wikis. To learn more, see Course Groups and Tools.
- Change Edit Mode to ON.
- On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and select Wikis.
- On the Wikis listing page, click Create Wiki on the action bar.
- On the Create Wiki page, type a name.
- Type optional Instructions. Optionally, format the text and add images, links, multimedia, mashups, and attachments using the functions in the content editor. Attachments you add using the content editor can be launched in a new window and have alternate text added to describe the attachment.
- Select the Yes option to make the wiki available to users.
- For Wiki Date and Time Restrictions, you can set a wiki to display on a specific date and time and to stop displaying on a specific date and time. Select the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Use the pop-up Date Selection Calendar and Time Selection Menu to select dates and times or type dates and times in the boxes. Display restrictions do not affect the wiki availability, only when it appears.
- Select the Student Access option. You can change the student access at any time.
- Closed to Editing: Select this option when you are the only one contributing pages or to disallow further page editing by users, such as when you want to grade the wiki pages. You can still view wikis when you select Closed to Editing.
- Open to Editing: Allows users to modify any wiki page. In a group wiki, a user must be a member of the group to edit a wiki page.
- In the Wiki Settings section, make a grading selection. If you select Grade: Points possible, type a grade to make the wiki a graded item. After you enable grading, a column is created automatically for it in the Grade Center. It is permanently gradable, and you cannot change it to No grading.
- Optionally, select the box and the number of page saves required to show participants in needs grading status. Applying this setting will show the needs grading icon—the exclamation mark—in the Grade Center and place the entries in the queue on the Needs Grading page after the specified number of page saves have been made.
If you choose three page saves from the drop-down list and a user submits two, the in progress icon ( ) appears in the Grade Center cell and within the tool until the specified number is met.
- Optionally, associate a rubric by pointing to Add Rubric. To learn more, see Rubrics.
- Click Submit.
About the Wikis Listing Page
The wiki topics appear in alphabetical order on the Wikis listing page. You can sort columns by clicking the column title or caret.
- On the Wikis listing page, click the title to access a wiki -OR- access a wiki's contextual menu and select Open.
- To change a wiki's availability or student access, select one or more check boxes and use the Availability and Student Access drop-down lists on the action bar.
- The Type column lists whether a wiki is for the course or for a group.
- Access a wiki's contextual menu and select Edit Properties to change a wiki's name, instructions, and settings.
How to Create Wiki Pages
Each newly created course or group wiki requires a first page, which is the home page. When you access a new wiki for the first time, a message appears at the top of the page prompting you to create a home page. The home page always appears first in the wiki page list, making it an ideal page for instructions.
You or any course or group member can create the home page. No one can delete the home page, but if the wiki is open to editing, any course or group member may edit it.
The home page and all subsequent pages are created following the same steps.
Use the following steps to create a wiki page.
- On the Wikis listing page, select a wiki title.
- On the wiki’s topic page, click Create Wiki Page on the action bar.
- On the Create Wiki Page, type a name.
- Type a description or instructions in the Content box. Optionally, format the text and add images, links, multimedia, mashups, and attachments using the functions in the content editor. Attachments you add using the content editor can be launched in a new window and have alternate text added to describe the attachment.
- Click Submit.
You can delete an entire wiki or pages within a wiki, but you cannot delete the wiki home page by itself. Students do not have the ability to delete wiki pages.
How to Link to Other Wiki Pages
When course members create or edit wiki pages, they may need to reference another page in the wiki. If the wiki consists of many pages, you can insert a link to that page right on the page you are currently viewing. You can use the Link to Wiki page function in the content editor to link to another wiki page within the current wiki.
In our example, we create a new wiki page and a link to another page.
- Access a wiki.
- On the wiki topic page, click Create Wiki Page on the action bar.
- On the Create Wiki Page, type a Wiki Name and Content.
- In the Content box, position the mouse pointer where you want to include a link to another wiki page.
- Click the Link to Wiki page function in the content editor, represented by several sheets of paper. If only one wiki page exists, this function is disabled.
- In the pop-up window, select the wiki page to link to from the drop-down list.
- Optionally, type a name for the link in the Rename Wiki Page Link box. If the link is not renamed, the original page title is used as the link.
- Click Submit. The link appears in the content editor.
- Click Submit. The new page with the link to the other page is added to the wiki.
How to Comment on Wiki Pages
Course members can comment on wiki pages rather than contribute to or edit a page. Comments provide a way for you and your students to offer feedback and suggestions. Comments are visible to all course members.
For group wikis, the default setting allows all course members to read them, but you must be a member of the group to make a comment. You can change the default setting to allow only group members to view a group wiki.
- Access a wiki.
- On the wiki topic page, select the page to view in the side panel. The wiki page opens in the content frame.
- Click Comment following the user’s contribution. The Comment box appears.
- Type a comment in the Comment box.
Comments have a 2,000-character limit. A pop-up message advises that a comment over 2,000 characters must be edited and resubmitted.
- Click spell check at the bottom of the Comment box to check the spelling of the content before continuing.
- Click Add. Click the Comments link below the contribution to view the comment.
- The Comments link displays how many comments were made about the wiki page by you and your students. Click the link to view the comments.
- The comments appear in the content frame following the wiki page. You can delete any user’s comment by clicking the X. No one can edit comments after they are posted. Users can delete the comments they authored.
- All comments for all wiki pages are counted in the About This Wiki section.
How to Edit Wiki Content
Any course member can edit a course wiki page and any group member can edit a group wiki page, unless you have disabled this function. You might choose to disable editing when it is time to grade the wiki pages. However, you can still edit student pages. All course members, including instructors, edit in the same way.
When a user is editing a wiki page, it is locked for a duration of 120 seconds to prevent others from editing the same page. Users are informed that another user is currently editing the page. The lock will expire in 120 seconds regardless of a user's activity/inactivity. After 120 seconds, another user can start editing the page and a new 120 seconds lock is placed on the page.
You can select History from a page’s contextual menu to see how a page was modified, view any version, and compare two versions side by side.
Use the following steps to edit wiki content.
- Access the wiki. The wiki topic page appears.
- Select the page to review and edit. The wiki page opens in the content frame.
- In the side panel, access the page’s and select Edit Properties.
Click Edit Wiki Content next to the page’s title in the content frame.
- On the Edit Wiki Page, you can make changes to the name and content of the page. Optionally, use the functions in the content editor to format existing text or include links, images, multimedia, mashups, link to other wiki pages, and attachments.
- Click Submit.
If you no longer need a wiki, you can delete it. Deleting a wiki is permanent. On the Wikis listing page, select Delete from the wiki's contextual menu.
If a wiki is gradable, the Delete Confirmation page appears. You need to perform extra steps to remove a gradable wiki.
- Change Edit Mode to ON.
- On the Wikis listing page, access a wiki's contextual menu.
- Select Delete.
- Click OK in the warning pop-up. The Delete Confirmation page appears. You have two options:
- Do not select check boxes: The wiki is deleted, but the Grade Center column and scores you have assigned are retained. For example, all student contributions are graded and you want to keep the Grade Center column for the final grade calculations. If you delete a wiki, yet retain the Grade Center column, you can delete that column from the Grade Center at any time.
- Select the check boxes: The grade column in the Grade Center and the wiki are deleted. For example, if you do not want to include the grade column for the wiki contributions in the final grade, you can safely delete all.
If you want students to access the wikis tool often, you can add a link to the course menu for one-click access to the tool. You can customize the name of the link as needed.
- Change Edit Mode to ON and point to the plus sign above the course menu. The Add Menu Item drop-down list appears.
- Select Tool Link.
- Type a Name for the link.
- From the Type drop-down list, select Wikis.
- Select the Available to Users check box.
- Click Submit.
After you enable grading, a column is created automatically in the Grade Center. View all the pages a student authored and edited as you determine the grade on the Participant’s Contribution page. The grade applies to the wiki, not an individual wiki page. You access the Participant’s Contribution page in the following ways:
- In the wikis tool, access a wiki and click Participation and Grading on the action bar. Click a user’s name to view their page modifications.
- On the Needs Grading page, access a wiki’s contextual menu and select Grade All Users. To learn more, see About the Needs Grading Page.
- In the Grade Center, locate the column for the wiki you want to grade and move the mouse pointer over a cell containing a needs grading icon—the exclamation mark—to access the contextual menu. Select Grade User Activity.
You can edit previously assigned grades on the wiki’s Participant’s Contribution page or in a Grade Center cell.
You cannot change a graded wiki to ungraded. You need to delete the graded wiki from the Wikis listing page and the Grade Center, and create a new ungraded wiki.
Grading Status Icons
Users with wikis that need grading are indicated with the needs grading icon in the Grade Center and on a wiki’s Participation Summary page under View Contributions By. In addition, they are listed on the Needs Grading page.
If during wiki creation you did not select the Show participants in needs grading status check box and select a minimum number of page saves, the needs grading icon will not appear in the Grade Center or the wiki’s Participation Summary page nor do items appear on the Needs Grading page.
The in progress icon ( ) shows in the Grade Center cell and in a wiki:
- For student activity that does not meet the minimum number you set.
- If you did not select the Show participants in needs grading status check box.
How to View the Participation Summary
On the Participation Summary page, you can view a list of all student participation for the current wiki you are viewing. The information provided can help you understand how students contributed to the overall wiki content. This information can be especially useful when determining individual grades for gradable wikis.
- Access a wiki.
- On the wiki topic page’s click Participation and Grading for graded wikis or Participation Summary for wikis with no grading.
- On the Participation Summary page, view participation for the students who have contributed to the wiki.
- In the side panel, view information about the wiki and select a user to view his or her Participant's Contribution page.
- Page Versions: The Page Version column displays all pages created and edited by the user. This allows you to see precisely how and what content the user contributed and edited. If many pages appear, narrow what is shown using the Display Pages drop-down list on the action bar. A new version is created each time a page is edited. When versions are compared, the difference between any version and its previous version are shown on the Page Comparison page. Click the Legend tab to understand the differences in how one version was changed in comparison to the other version. The Legend tab provides an explanation of the formatting used to communicate version differences.
- Words Modified: Tally of any words added, deleted, or edited in all pages and each page’s version of the wiki.
- Page Saves: Tally of any time Submit is clicked on the Edit Wiki Page in the wiki, regardless whether or not content has been changed.
How to Grade Wiki Contributions
In our example, grading starts from the wikis tool.
- Access a wiki.
- On the wiki topic page’s click Participation and Grading on the action bar.
- On the Participation Summary page, select a student's name in the View Contributions By section. Students with contributions ready for grading appear with the exclamation mark, the needs grading icon.
- On the Participant’s Contribution page, a list of the student’s pages and page versions open in the content frame. You can also view information about the contributions. In the Page Version column, click a page’s title to review it.
- When ready to grade, in the Grade section in the side panel, click Edit Grade. The grading field appears in the side panel.
- Type a numeric grade in the Current Grade Value box, or use an associated rubric. To learn more, see Rubrics.
- Optionally, type Feedback for the student and Grading Notes, which appear to you and graders only. Optionally, use the spell check function in the bottom of each box. Click Text Editor to access all the content editor functions for formatting text and adding URLs, attachments, images, mashups, and multimedia.
- Click Save Grade to add the grade, feedback, and grading notes to the Grade section and to the Grade Center.
Use the Previous User and Next User arrows in View Contributions By section to access more contributions to grade.
You can edit the grade, feedback, or grading notes by clicking the Edit Grade function again at any time. The changes appear in the Grade section and in the Grade Center. The changes are documented in the Grade Center in the Grade History tab on the student's Grade Details page.
On the Participation Summary page, the needs grading icon appears in the View Contributions By section for group members when a group wiki needs grading. When you add a grade for a group wiki on the Participation Summary page, the grade is automatically given to all the members of the group and is populated in the corresponding column in the Grade Center for each group member. All members are assigned a grade, regardless if a member did not contribute. Students can view their group wiki grades in My Grades and on their My Contribution pages.
You can assign an individual group member a different grade than the group by editing the grade for the member. If you change a group member’s grade, and you assign a new group grade, the new group grade will not affect the individual’s new grade. The grade the individual member received and the grade the group received are both shown. The individual’s new grade will not appear to the other group members.
On the Participation Summary page, select the group member from the View Contributions By section. The Participant’s Contribution page displays the group member’s contributions. You can change the group grade for this member in the side panel by clicking Edit Grade.
The group grade and the individual group member’s edited grade appear in the Grade Center in the column that was created automatically when you enabled grading for the group wiki.
Grayed out cells appear in the group wiki column for course members who are not part of the group. You can also edit the grade from the Grade Center.
How to Revert a Member’s Edited Grade
You can revert a member’s edited grade to the original group grade, which all group members received. Alternatively, edit the grade that was changed on the group wiki page by selecting the user.
- In the Grade Center, access the member’s Grade Details page.
- After you edit a member’s group grade, the Revert To Group Grade function appears. Click Revert To Group Grade.
- Click OK. The member’s grade is changed to the original group grade.
- Click Return to Grade Center to return to the main Grade Center page and view the edited grade column. This grade change also appears on the group wiki page when the user's name is selected.
Deleting a Group
If you no longer need a group, you can delete it. If the group has gradable items connected to it, the Delete Confirmation page appears. You can retain any group grade columns you need. On the Delete Confirmation page, do not select the check boxes for any columns that you want to preserve.
Creating a Wiki (Flash movie | 2m 46s)
Adding Rich Content to a Wiki (Flash movie | 4m 10s)
Editing a Wiki (Flash movie | 1m 36s)
Linking Wiki Pages (Flash movie | 1m 43s)
Viewing Wiki Page History (Flash movie | 2m 37s)
Grading Wikis (Flash movie | 1m 43s)