Working with Wikis in Writing-Intensive Classes

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Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, Vol: 14, Issue: 1

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Navarre Cleary, Michelle; Sanders-Betzold, Suzanne; Hoover, Polly; St. John, Peggy
Writing-intensive classes; wikis; nontraditional students; teacher learning; writing; adult students; college composition; Rhetoric and Composition
article description
Most teachers, having too little time and too much experience with the next-new-thing, tend to turn a deaf ear to the fanfare heralding new technologies such as wikis. They are unlikely to try wikis, blogs and other Web 2.0 innovations without concrete evidence of their pedagogic value. Much that has been published to date on wiki use in college classes either explains what wikis are or speculates on what they might accomplish. Few studies, notably those of Farabaugh (2007), Carr, Morrison, Cox and Deacon (2007) and James (2007), analyze how wikis have and have not worked when actually used in college classes. To this end, we report on a study conducted over two quarters, with three classes and two teaching teams in a program that serves non-traditional students. 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). We also evaluated one teaching team's ability to develop their use of the wiki and disseminate what they learned to another teaching team.