This reminds me of ENG 577 class. One classroom, one wiki, two assignments. The first assignment was to create 10 help topics in a wiki format. Our reading pairs were combined to form a team for this project. Through the forcing of collaboration and teamwork, the team I was on was able to produce our help topics and a cohesive wiki. Was it easy? No. There were communication problems and varying levels of engagement by team members. Not good things to happen in an online collaborative exercise.
The second task was for the separate pairs to create a policy and procedure document for online students at MSU, Mankato. Some pairs were able to take the collective knowledge gained in the first wiki exercise, and complete this task with no issues. My “pair” consisted of three individuals, with even more extreme perceptions of communication and collaboration expectations. One other “pair” member and I were finally able to pull the task together, after nearly a month of no real progress. The other “pair” member did not contribute or communicate until a week before the final product was due. As a result, two of us were forced to seek outside intervention by the instructor, in order to separate our efforts from the third member. He hadn’t participated, therefore he did not deserve a share in the final grade attributed to the project.
While the article “One Wiki, Two Classrooms” refers to the collaborative atmosphere of wiki technologies as occurring in a “supportive social environment,” (143) this is not always the case. On the contrary, wikis can reveal the very mismatch of people that will guarantee a failure because of the lack of equitable participation in an assigned environment.