With Patricia Van de Walle (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences)

Students usually achieve a deeper understanding of the subject matter when they interact with fellow students and have to reach a conclusion together. In this ECHO Tip, we'll take a closer look at one possible way of enabling asynchronous remote collaboration: a wiki.

What's a wiki?

A wiki is a good example of a collaboration tool that can be used to have students build content together at different times. Since it's embedded in the learning environment, the teaching team can easily monitor the use of the tool.

The name comes from the Hawaiian language, where 'wiki wiki' means 'to hurry'. It's an interactive, modifiable website, the contents of which can be edited only by users who have been granted access (Kamel Boulos et al., 2007; Parker et al., 2019). Using a wiki is a good way to ensure fast, easy, secure and asynchronous group collaboration.

Getting started with wikis

Organising group work as a teaching method should be a well-thought-out didactic choice. If you're considering using wikis, you should first ascertain how they can help you achieve one of your previously formulated competences and learning objectives.

If a wiki does indeed prove to be a useful tool in relation to the learning objectives, you can start developing the wiki structure.

You should proceed as follows:

  1. First, determine the wiki topic that group members will be contributing content to. The topic is the overarching theme that connects the different pages. A wiki topic contains an overview of all the related wiki pages. 
  2. Then you can start adding wiki pages to this topic. A wiki page is a more specific question or deepening of the general theme. For example, the wiki topic Modern Philosophy could include a wiki page on utilitarianism, an page on empiricism, and so on. 
  3. You can also compile all wiki topics created for a course by a group on an overview page