Wikis: Ways to use them for a more Collaboration and Interaction

Wikis are an under-utlised tool in the arsenal of educators and education facilitators. I am often asked “what is it?”  and sometimes “what is it for?”, but rarely “how can I use it?”.

There are many reasons for this approach, most notable is the distinct lack of understanding of both what a wiki is and how it can be used. I often find the best way to describe it is to in fact describe or demonstrate examples where it is already used .. successfully.

Here is my list (inspired by the “50 Ways to Use Wikis for a More Collaborative and Interactive Classroom” from Smart Teaching) on how you could encourage the use of wikis in the classroom; remember, I’m thinking Higher Education – so this means young adults (mainly) as students, and senior academics and Professors as the facilitators (these are often more ‘stubborn’ learners of new techniques).

Group Work

  • Authoring
  • Organisation
  • Participation (and tracking it)


  • Multi-authoring
  • Peer review
  • Debate & discussion


  • Collaborative FAQs
  • Glossary
  • Reading lists
  • Problem solving


  • Ideas
  • Bookmarks & reading
  • Community
  • Achievements
  • Responsibilities

I hope this helps, somewhat, for those who are still a little befuddled on what is a wiki, and how/why we can be using them. I also include my presentation on “Wikis in Education”:

David Hopkins – Wiki in Education: How & Why

  • Lindsay Jordan

    Thanks for this David – a nice, simple illustration of what wikis can do for enabling collaborative learning. I’ve always liked that ‘camping trip’ example in the Plain English vid; the first time I set up a wiki myself was to enable our gospel choir to collaboratively organise costume colours for a performance as we didn’t have enough time to sort it out in rehearsal – I find that’s usually hits the spot when demonstrating to people what a wiki is!

    Finding some great educational examples of wiki use to show newcomers to the technology is a little more challenging; there is some fantastic collaboration taking place on educational wikis but they can look a little chaotic to newcomers who aren’t accustomed to the look and feel of this type of collaboration. However, this can open up some interesting conversations about the relative importance of process and product :-)

    • Lindsay – My thoughts exactly. Wikis can be quite daunting to those who are accustomed to them too, but they are the kind of thing you can only truly understand when you have a reason to use it, and continue to use until you no longer have to look at the support notes.

      All the best, David

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