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Implementing a wiki(text)book assignment: More lessons from the trenches

Author Paul Collins
Abstract In recent years wikis have been promoted in higher education because of their potential to support collaborative learning. During the spring semester of 2015 I carried out action research in my classroom while implementing a wiki assignment with 10 Bachelor of Education (BEd) students taking a 10-week introductory module on Early music (i.e. music of the medieval, Renaissance and baroque periods). Employing Elliott's (1991) flexible model of action research, which encourages teacher-researchers to undertake several discrete action steps during the course of a single action research cycle, I wished to (1) investigate if the students worked mostly cooperatively or collaboratively in completing the assignment; and (2) identify any particular problems associated with the assignment's completion. I required students, working in three self-selecting groups, to create a multimedia resource that was based on course content while also being suitable for senior primary school pupils and their teachers, each group's artifact being conceived of as an electronic textbook (or 'wikitextbook') chapter. Data was collected by means of two questionnaires and reflective journals, the latter being kept individually by participants during the six week-long assignment. Questionnaire responses and journal contents largely confirm the findings of previous studies that students need ample technical and educational support both before and during a wiki project or assignment if they are to engage successfully in collaborative learning using wiki technology. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations and questions for both higher educators and future research, these aiming to contribute to an emerging wiki pedagogy.
Keywords Action research, collaborative learning, higher music education, Moodle, wiki, wikibook, wikitextbook
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2016
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