Cummings and Barton Chapter 4: Is it an assignment or a community?

In the Spring 2013 semester, I was enrolled in the Documentation, Policies and Procedures course. One of the requirements in the course involved using a wiki in a group project. It was not a particularly challenging task from a technology standpoint. Wikispaces is free and easy to use. The biggest challenge centered around the participants. In some teams, certain members did not want to participate as much as other members, which created friction.

In the wiki assignment, each team had to create ten help topics. The help topics needed images, labeling under the images, numbering of the steps and consistency. The assignment had an incentive to participate – which was tied to the time and effort sheet. Each student filled one out, evaluating their own time and effort as well as each teammate’s. The expectations were not always clear, but we did have Skype meetings with the instructor to clarify any questions. Email also helped with any points that were not clear.

These wikis would be classified as static web pages rather than a true wiki. As far as the stages indicated in this chapter, we only made it to step 5. We posted pages with help topics. There was little or no conversation taking place on the wiki. Once the assignment was completed, the wiki died. I’ve saved mine for portfolio purposes. Otherwise, it is a static site.

Do I find value in wikis? Not really, outside of referring to them for answers. It is an interesting assignment, but nothing I would do on an ongoing basis. I much prefer the discussion boards of LinkedIn. I find them to be much more productive.


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