Maxwell and Felczak, Chapter 5: Success through Simplicity

Maxwell and Felczak identified three technologies that were the precursor of wiki technology in the classroom. The first was CSILE, a knowledge forum database. Apple Computer provided support for introducing CSILE into schools. It was used in Toronto schools for five years, as well as in an elementary school in Oakland, CA.

The second technology introduced is Ricki Goldman’s Constellations system. This video ethnographic tool evolved into Orion, an online digital video tool. The goal of Constellations and Orion is to create a collaborative environment.

CaMILE project was an early creation of Mark Guzdial’s. He started it at Georgia Tech in 1993. This was prior to graphical interfaces. As soon as graphical interfaces bacame available on the Internet, they moved CaMILE to the web. It was followed by several other projects, including CoWeb and Swiki. Today, Guzdial says that computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) is relevant for today’s MOOCs and other on-line learning experiments. (

The authors mention the notion of radical trust – “Radical Trust : A notion that influence, rather than control, is more effective at guiding culture, commerce and communities. ”

A wiki was used as a key facet in a writing-intensive learning program. This allowed th instructors to maintain a level of scaffolding and structure. Scaffolding has been defined by Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976) as an “adult controlling those elements of the task that are essentially beyond the learner’s capacity, thus permitting him to concentrate upon and complete only those elements that are within his range of competence.”

Writing-intensive learning program is divided into two methods: writing to learn course material, andlearning to write. At the same time, the writing is tied to the requirement and activities of courses.

While writing-intensive may be the most obvious aspect notice, there is another aspect of the writing that contributes to the ongoing, learning process. This other aspect is the incorporation of revision in the process of writing. Revisions come in two forms. An assignment may be divided into multiple stages, with feedback at each stage and opportunity for revision coming out of that feedback. The other form is multiple, similar assignment, with feedback being given on each assignment. Feedback generated as a part of the revision process may be used to improve future writing.

Some of the unanticpated uses of the wiki included: Students read the work of other students, even those outside of their peer group. The used the wiki as a source of ideas, insights, potential counterarguments. The wiki provided students with search sources and writing relevant to their own topic. Students referenced other students’ work, and cross-reference peers. This referencing and cross-referencing came in the form of background citation and direct responses to peers’ work. The students created a collaborative study guide, which would have been nearly impossible via a discussion board or email. They also used the wiki to complain about other courses, post and comment on each other’s poetry and semi-anonymously announce affections.

The wiki proved that some students are more active online than others. This is due to diversity of interests, motivations, and time constraints.



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