Kelly Reffitt, Ph. D.
Kelly Jones, Ph. D. candidate
Susan Thornton, Ph. D. candidate
Background & Purpose
collaborative knowledge building and knowledge sharing
The purpose of this case study is to examine doctoral
students’ perceptions of the benefits, challenges, and
experiences of creating a class wiki.
Context of the Study
Class wiki assignment
Intended as a research assignment & instructional resource
Doctoral student teams
2011: Group 1 worked collectively to build a wiki
2012: Group 2 worked collectively to redesign the wiki
Group pages aligned to assigned time periods
highlighting the history of American education
Two perspectives: globalization and social learning
The Internet opens new possibilities for learning both in
and out of the classroom
Knowledge is being built by groups of people from all over
the world working together in online spaces such as wikis
Wiki writers form communities of practice (Wenger, 1998)
based on a common goal or shared interest
Wikis promote social learning by engaging students in
practice and encouraging collaboration
Mixed methods case study
Setting: online and on campus
Participants are doctoral students (ages 25-54)
17 students in Group 1
15 students in Group 2
We collected three forms of data:
(1) students’ responses to an online survey
(2) students’ responses during a videotaped focus group
(3) student reflections published on the class wiki sites.
Group 1: 17 students (2011)
12 survey responses
Group 2: 15 students (2012)
12 survey responses
8 focus group interview participants
24 of 32 doctoral students completed the survey
75% return rate
Only one had previous experience building or contributing to a wiki
page before this assignment.
88% reported participation in the wiki enhanced their technology
knowledge and experience.
67% reported that they accessed the wiki as an instructional resource
after the course.
79% reported feeling satisfied with the overall experience of creating a
collaborative research-based wiki
75% of students reported that they would be likely to use a wiki as an
instructional resource in the future.
Interview transcripts, survey results, and reflections
were coded individually by the researchers to identify
initial emergent themes
To increase interrater reliability, the researchers then
compared their coded transcripts and collapsed the
codes into 24 categorical themes
Major Emergent Themes
“Top 5” Based on Frequency:
2. Learning experience
3. Classroom connections
5. Benefits of the assignment
5. Time spent
Wikis provide a distinct work setting that is conducive
to the emerging presence of globalization in education
literacies are critical for teachers
Classrooms today are nodes in larger global learning
Wikis can be multimodal, collaborative spaces for
sustained engagement and meaningful learning
Dr. Kelly Reffitt, Mercer University.
Phone: (478) 301-5389
Kelly Jones, Mercer University.
Phone: (478) 301-2175
Susan Thornton, Dublin City Schools.
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