Thinking about Using a Wiki in Class?

According to Wikipedia, a wiki is an easily created and edited Web site that lends itself to collaborative writing projects.  (Wikipedia is itself a wiki.)

But as Michelle Navarre Cleary, Suzanne Sanders-Betzold, Polly Hoover, and Peggy St. John point out in “Working with Wikis in Writing-Intensive Classes,” composition scholarship on wiki effectiveness has been sketchy to date.  To remedy that, the authors conducted a study with three of their courses over two quarters.  “We studied our use of wikis as a learning tool (helping students develop academic writing skills) and as a teaching tool (allowing us to distribute information, promote collaboration and build a sense of class community).”

Their conclusion? Students’ confidence and writing ability improved, but the authors could not directly link that to wiki use.  They saw a stronger correlation between wikis and community building.

They offer some suggestions for experimenting with wikis in the classroom.