Mediawiki and Wiki As a Medium


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Presentation on wikis as a medium and use in teaching with special emphasis on mediawiki software

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Mediawiki and Wiki As a Medium

  1. 1. Mediawiki Wiki as Medium Randy Thornton [email_address]
  2. 2. The Wiki Way Wikis are collaborative web sites where anyone with the proper permission can edit the pages in place. In practice, the Wiki Way is about building on-line knowledge-bases by a community of contributors through collaborative editing.
  3. 3. The Wiki Way: form follows function / content is king
  4. 4. <ul><li>The original context of the web </li></ul>A group of professionals in the same discipline who already have a culture of information sharing with well established procedures for Group editing & authoring Attribution and credit Authority citation Peer review Levels of publication
  5. 6. The basics
  6. 7. The goodies
  7. 8. More goodies
  8. 9. basic properties hypertextual asynchronous collaborative unstructured
  9. 10. emergent properties Pioneers become settlers / process becomes product Rapid change :: rapid response Contribution: the 1 to 999 ratio Stylistics and readability Systemic bias of users: geographic, linguistic, technical Scalability is not technical but administrative & organizational
  10. 11. Wikis are textual but not fixed like print “ A characteristic of every medium is that its content is always another medium” -MM The Fountain and Source of Knowledge (and Power)
  11. 12. I didn’t read the book, but I saw the movie Wikis in Plain English The best place to read more about wikis is the ‘wiki’ article on Wikipedia
  12. 13. pedagogy
  13. 14. Wikis work best where the goal is the accumulation of knowledge about discrete subject(s) over time, and where the contributions are collaborative in nature; they emphasize the ongoing process of knowledge accumulation. Wikis are not well designed for projects where the attributions and authorship of individual contributors is paramount (as in traditional publishing), or where the goal is the presentation of perfected final product that does not need feedback (as in the traditional web site).
  14. 15. Author Author-ity
  15. 16. The Fountain and Source of Knowledge (and Power)
  16. 17. The Fountain and Source of Knowledge (and Power)
  17. 18. The wiki knowledge model privileges content over authorship and is conducive to constructivism Knowledge Base Multiple, Independent, Varying Sources of Knowledge
  18. 19. “ [A]uthorship data is irrelevant and sometimes even detrimental to the creation of truly communal repositories of knowledge” Holloway, Bozicevic, Börner (2005) re GNU Free Document License
  19. 21. wikiphobia
  20. 23. Middlebury A necessary but not sufficient response You You tell me…
  21. 24. Imposing order <ul><ul><li>Structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Editorial style and control must come from the culture of the users </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Because it doesn’t come from the software </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attribution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wikis are fundamentally about the end product </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>So methods of attribution must be made explicit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>both citation to external sources </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>and internal authorship attributions </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Especially over time with multiple generations of students editing each others work </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 25. Some pedagogical issues Learning outcome assessment How do we assess whether this is an effective way to learn ? Student assessment As in other group activities, how do we measure and grade individual student contributions ? (Other online social software systems such as blogs and forums still maintain authorship modes so that reputation can be assessed. Wikis in general, and Mediawiki in particular, do not make this easy, nor have the tools to do this as easily as the traditional LMS, for example.)
  23. 26. Discipline specific issues How do wikis fit into the corporate and group authorship that is a norm in some fields, especially the sciences, and some social sciences, e.g. psychology ? Probably pretty well
  24. 27. How does a non-sequential, disruptive technology such as a wiki fit with the notion of a course as a graduated series of knowledge and abilities that build on one another ? The course
  25. 28. “ Homer” and the Homeric tradition Herodotus The Aristotelian commentators Servius and the Vergilian tradition Pliny Varro Martianus Capella and the 7 Liberal Arts Isadore of Seville Jewish Torah Islamic hadith Tales of 1001 Nights Iranian epic and dastans Mediaeval epic Carmina Burana Dante commentators Veda Upanishads & commentators Dharmashastras and law texts Sutras & commentaries Buddhist Pali canon Mahabharata Ramayana Kalidasa & commentators Spring and Autumn Annals Confucius tradition “ Lao Tzu” Chuang Tzu tradition Text and Aggregation Intertext and Commentary
  26. 29. Beyond the compendium model: some examples that work <ul><ul><li>Production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Oberon – group design and management of a full scale theater production </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Penguin Wiki novel </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The commentarial wiki </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pynchon </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hitchcock </li></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 30. Technical Issues (Pro) <ul><li>Getting one up and running is quick, cheap and easy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Almost all popular wiki software runs on the LAMPP platform, some on Windows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hardware requirements for smaller wikis are minimal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Open Source advantage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If it doesn’t do something you want, check that someone else has already done it, or just add it yourself </li></ul></ul>
  28. 31. Technical Issues (Con) <ul><li>$upporting $omething el$e $yndrome </li></ul><ul><li>Policies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How well can standard user policies apply? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User accounts & roles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who decides who has rights to what </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retention & data management </li></ul></ul><ul><li>External Security </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wiki spam and grafitti </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>bots </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Software exploits </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The Open Source dis advantage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If it doesn’t do something you want, check that someone else has already done it; if not and you can’t fix it yourself, you suffer </li></ul></ul>
  29. 34. Best Practices <ul><li>Accounts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-anonymity encourages responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limit your editors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Define editor groups to edit main content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grant editorship as you would in a paper based system </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consider allowing all user to leave comments </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Policies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Define and publish explicit editorial & content policies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan for the future of the data </li></ul></ul>
  30. 37. “ The message of print: the principles of uniformity, continuity, and linearity.” And…finally, wiki as a medium… “ It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame.&quot; &quot;Environments are not just containers, but are processes that change the content totally.&quot; Marshall McLuhan
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