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Communicating Online: Wikis

Wikis Logo

Author content collaboratively with wikis.

A wiki is a useful environment to collaborate openly, and develop a knowledge base for instance with authorship being as wide as the owner/administrator determines. 

With a more open approach to authorship, the content of a wiki can change constantly as it benefits directly from the insight and specialist knowledge of a large group of potential authors.

Changes to wikis can be tracked and archiving of content is possible.  

Why and when to use a Wiki

Use wikis for sharing information and creating communities of interest.

They have all sorts of uses, from a discussion medium to a repository of information, from a mail system to a tool for collaboration and can incorporate words, pictures, videos, and audio clips. They can also be used to advertise events and news.

They're a powerful tool because they constantly evolve and are great collaborative spaces. They can open to the world or to subscribers / invitees only.

Consider your aims before you set up the wiki:

  • What's the topic? 
  • Who can be a member? 
  • Are you using it to inform or to create a community – or both… 
  • Can everyone see or only some edit, or are you going to restrict membership and let everyone contribute?

Used as educational tools, wikis have the potential to:

  • Create networks of meaning and communities of interest
  • Enable distributed learning across the Internet
  • Facilitate collaborative learning – enabling participants to engage in discussion, learning and information exchange not easily achieved face to face… – Wikis in Plain English


Contributing to a Wiki

Contributing to a Wiki is straightforward but not as simple as publishing a post in a blog.

Page creation and editing is done on the Web using simple mark up language.

Wikis make considerable use of internal linking, allowing easy associations between different content pages.

The mark-up is far easier than html; its complexity is restricted in order to encourage contribution.