A Framework for Assessing the Pedagogical Effectiveness of Wiki-Based Collaborative Writing: Results and Implications

By Hadjerrouit, Said | Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning, Annual 2013 | Go to article overview

A Framework for Assessing the Pedagogical Effectiveness of Wiki-Based Collaborative Writing: Results and Implications


Hadjerrouit, Said, Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning


Introduction

Wikis are considered as Web 2.0 technologies that promote collaborative learning, social interaction, and information sharing. Accordingly, wikis in teacher education are used to achieve various educational goals by means of collaborative learning, group interactions, and sharing of good practice examples of wiki (Austin, Smyth, Rickard, Quirk-Bolt, & Metcalfe, 2010; Deters, Cuthrell, & Stapleton, 2010; Hadjerrouit, 2012a; Honegger, 2005; Mindel & Verma, 2006; Parker & Chao, 2007; Witney & Smallbone, 2011). As for any digital technology, the integration of wikis into teacher education requires the consideration of a number of essential elements (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). These are wiki technology, wiki content, and group work. Wiki technology provides potentially new functionalities to generate content associated with a specific topic. To produce the wiki content collaboratively, students are required to work in groups. Students also need to be knowledgeable in the wiki topic to be produced by means of wiki technology and group work. Moreover, wiki-based collaborative writing requires a thoughtful understanding of the complex relationships between wiki technology, wiki content, and group work. To address these issues, there is a need for a theoretical framework that offers a new way of looking at wiki-based collaborative writing in teacher education. Based on the framework, the main purpose of this article is to report on a study that investigates students' perceptions of wiki-based collaborative writing in teacher education by means of self- and peer-assessment. The work also reports on pedagogical implications of using wikis as collaborative writing tools. Finally, the article suggests a pedagogy that suits the specificities of wikis in teacher education. This study draws on similar research done previously (Hadjerrouit, 2012a, 2012b, 2012c; Hadjerrouit 2013).

The paper is structured as follows. First, the research questions are stated. Second, the theoretical framework is described, followed by a literature review. Then, the case study is presented. The next section describes the results, followed by a discussion of pedagogical implications of using wikis in teacher education. Finally, the paper suggests a wiki pedagogy that facilitates collaborative writing.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided this work:

1) What are the key elements of wikis in teacher education, and how are they connected to each other?

2) How do students perceive the key elements of wikis and their relationships when they carry out collaborative writing activities?

3) Which pedagogical implications can be drawn from the students' perceptions of collaborative writing?

To answer the first question, a theoretical framework is developed to capture the main elements of wikis in teacher education. A case study is used to answer the second question. The study uses self- and peer-assessment to analyse students' perceptions of wiki-based collaborative writing. Finally, to address the third research question, the results are analysed in terms of the theoretical framework and related research work, resulting in the specification of a wiki pedagogy that fosters collaborative writing.

Literature Review

Wikis are considered as Web 2.0 technologies that enable users to edit and publish content on the Web. Wiki tools are supposed to have a user-friendly and intuitive user interface that does not require much training (Lamb, 2004; Tetard, Patokorpi, & Packalen, 2009). However, research has raised a number of shortcomings regarding the technical capabilities of wikis. One of the most important drawbacks is the lack of a WYSIWYG editor that facilitates editing and designing (Thomas, King, & Minocha, 2009). Likewise, Harsell (2010) indicated that students still stress the need for technical training, because they do not possess pre-requisite knowledge for using wikis. …

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