Wikis and the Scholarship of Teaching (Summary Part One of Three)
This section focuses primarily on the capabilities and potential of wikis in the classroom. Several selections in this section provide a framework for understanding and learning about wikis. Mark Phillipson’s "Wikis in the Classroom: a Taxonomy" proposes a classification of classroom wikis in an effort to help instructors determine which wiki could function best in their classroom, while simultaneously reminding readers that Wikipedia is not the only wiki available for classroom use. His five classifications include the resource wiki, the presentation wiki, the gateway wiki, the simulation wiki, and the illuminated wiki. The bulk of his chapter defines these five wikis, providing examples and possible uses for each one.
Authors Jonah Bossewitch, John Frankfurt, and Alexander Sherman (with Robin D.G. Kelley) argue in "Wiki Justice, Social Ergonomics, and Ethical Collaborations" that "wikis are well suited for collaborative projects where the intended outcome is a cohesive whole as opposed to a collection of independent or loosely related ideas" (pp. 56). They additionally assert that wikis are a useful tool to use for student projects that develop over time (pp. 56). Moreover, they succinctly answer what they deem three vital questions regarding wikis:
• What is a wiki? "A content management system anyone can read or edit" (pp. 67).
• How do you teach a wiki? "Set a topic and grade students on their ability to agree on meaningful categories" (pp. 67).
• What is the point of a wiki? "Instant stakeholders and a collaboration where you see the impact of your effort" (pp. 67).
John W. Maxwell and Michael Felczak's "Success Through Simplicity: On Developmental Writing and Communities of Inquiry" second the idea that wikis are well suited for collaboration, emphasizing that wikis offer benefits for peer review sessions. Specifically, they appreciate that "students are able to see the quality of writing of their fellow peers by reading other students' writing on a variety of issues and topics" (pp. 101). This, they suggest, creates a very positive community of learning, as students are able to not only comment on their peers' writing, but also learn from their peers' writing.