Wikis explained in an educational context here.

"The New Writing is online writing: designing web sites, writing weblogs, and creating and managing wikis. New writers are redefining writing online, creating new forms and approaches for new audiences." - English Dept., Bemidji State University

"there is a great potential in this tool to be completely disruptive (in a good way) to the classroom setting" (James 2004)

A Wiki is a web technology that allows a web site to be collaboratively constructed and edited with no specialist tools and very little technical know-how. This is of interest in learning and teaching as a wiki can offer students and educators a more active, participative relationship with web based materials.

What is a Wiki?
The term Wiki is hawaiian for quick and was coined as a name for a particular type of web site. These web sites allow any visitor to easily contribute to and edit that web site using nothing more than their Internet browser (e.g. Internet Explorer). Wiki systems are particularly suited to collaborative group authoring of documents and websites. The most famous example of a Wiki is Wikipedia, a very extensive on-line encylopedia that allows anyone to add to and edit its entries.

There are now many different wiki systems available, examples include:
  • Mediawiki - a free open source wiki system that was originally developed for Wikipedia. To use Mediawiki you need to host the system files on a webserver. Leeds currently has an installation of Mediawiki which is available to staff and students. Use of this system is described on subsequent pages (go to Mediawiki ).
  • Wikispaces - an example of a free hosted wiki which also offers paid for versions that include additional functionslity (go to Wikispaces).
  • Confluence - an Enterprise wiki system ideal for large scale and corporate implementations (go to Confluence ).
  • Writeboard - a very simple free hosted wiki which forms an ideal introduction to these systems (go to Writeboard ).
  • Jotspot - a free hosted wiki system that has been purchased by Google (go to Jotspot).

Typical Wiki functionality includes:
  • Browser based editing - all wiki page edits are achieved through an associated editing page with a text entry box.
  • Access control - the ability to edit pages can be open to all visitors, or can be restricted to those with a login or limited by IP address.
  • Wiki mark up - web formating (e.g. bold, links, headings, lists etc) can be achieved within wiki content using simple mark up designed to be easier to use than HTML code.
  • Tracking version history - the page content is saved as each edit is made resulting in a timeline of different page ve