This week we studied the use of Wikis for group projects. West (West, 2009) laid out how to design a good wiki projects. Some of their suggestions would also be transferable to group projects in the classroom. These include having process checks, individual assessment strategies, recognizing and resolving conflicts, reassess group goals and roles, controversy vs. conflict, and conflict intervention.
It seems like the biggest complaint when working in groups is individuals not contributing evenly. According to West (West, 2009) it is important to integrate an individual midpoint assessment. It should be a short answer quiz that each member completes individually. West suggests questions like what the objective is, what your role is, the tasks you are responsible for, and a time line for completing. By adding in this assessment it helps combat the possibility of uneven contribution.
There are three main types of wikis. The first is a free based wiki. These are easy to set up and monitor. They do have their limitations. These limitations are minimal management capabilities, least amount of security, and limitations on the number of members or pages (West, 2009). If these limitations will cause some concern it may be better to consider a fee-based wiki.
The second type is a fee-based wiki. This type of wiki also requires minimal technical experience but over comes the problems one may encounter with free wikis. There is added security, advanced management capabilities, large or unlimited number of members or pages and easy to add and link groups (West, 2009). Just remember that there are limitations including the cost involved.
Finally there is the self-hosted wiki. This is a wiki where software is loaded directly onto a personal or campus server. “Self-hosting a wiki allows for allows for maximum control over access and security, and typically provides much more storage space than is available through free or fee-based wiki” (West, 2009). It is important to remember that you have more technical experience and requires more set up time.
West, J. A. (2009). Using Wikis for Online Collaboration. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.