Discussion thread: Thoughts about wikis

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Discussion thread: Thoughts about wikis

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Do you have any concerns about the quality of educational resources developed using an open authoring approach? If so, what are your concerns? If not, how does an open authoring approach contribute to high quality learning materials?

Hello everyone.

Needless to say that an open authoring approach definitely contribute to high quality tmaterials. Imagine how life of students witout technology was difficuld. Bulky reference books and distance from teachers hindered quality development in learning. But with the advent of computers and online tutoring have immensely brought an aesthetic touch to learning. Learners are having access to information from diffrent well-researched resources in their studies. They are less stressed and time management is seen to be better handled with the open authoring approach. Teachers and learners are working in close collaboration and are working hand in hand towards the improvement in the quality of education. Also, the WIKI editing techniques can help learners stay away fro obsolete facts and keep them informed about updated facts. (prema leckraz)

In my opinion Wiki is a good tool to start generating ideas on a topic, on all levels, school and university, etc. Having said that, the validity of the information will always be in question. As was mentioned by some participants, fact and correction of information is percieved differently. It's all good that Wiki makes it easy for editing of information to take place, but therein lies the danger as well, correct information may be altered with wrong information. This uncertainty in correctness of information leaves me with no other conclusion that Wiki needs to be checked against two or more reputable sources(oops!). These however, in my opinion will not stop the wave of the Wiki. I believe that people that post information are sensitized to ensure that the information posted have been factually checked. The reality is, Wiki is here to stay. The question is, how will we as individuals use the information. User:Hylton

According to me, educational resources developed using an open authorising approach enable collaboration and really teach us, but they are not 100% reliable. As they are open to collaborative editing, anyone can anonymously edit true and proper information into false and misleading one. Thus, the uncertainty in correctness of information remains question mark on the educational resourses developed using an open authorising approach.

Hi there, I have read with interest the comments already made and share some of the concerns and thoughts expressed. I have been trying to use Wiki with some of my classes through our Learning Management System, Ultranet. The Wiki feature is quite limited compared to this wiki or others available on-line. Unfortunately we are not allowed to access external website wikis and blogs through the school network which, I think, is rather limiting for our students. (However I will not jump on my own personal soapbox here!) I find that the real benefit to using wikis with my students is the sense of ownership they have with the work they are producing. Those who are less confident to voice their opinions in class or who take a little time to rpocess their ideas suddenly have a voice in a Wiki. Yes, there is the concern that they may incorrectly correct someone else's work - and this is happens a lot in my subject (French) but there si the option to compare changes and then have a dialogue about that through the wiki itself. --Robeanne 22:04, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

I am finding all of the arguments for and against open content very interesting and informative, however my point will be very mundane: I love the way wiki allows the Inner Stickler to get instant gratification! If any of you have read the excellent and entertaining grammar book Eats Shoots and Leaves, you will understand the pleasure of being able to edit and correct spelling and grammar mistakes on wiki. How many websites have you seen that you would love to be able to correct their hilariously atrocious English translations?!

But in all seriousness, wiki editing allows us all to make sure the content AND the form is better and better. I am hoping to use this feature to have my students peer edit their work. Does anyone have any teaching ideas for peer editing via wiki? How does one avoid students mis-correcting? correcting one mistake yet adding another? Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Now I had better proofread my work...

--Denise Barstow-Girel "Be the person you admire." 10:14, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

As I am still learning about Wiki in general let alone WE I am not aware of areas which could raise concerns. Well, ok~ the fact that one can log in and edit content...I would find that unhelpful, if a person logged in and changed information for the fun of it or through ignorance. Open authoring~hmm building on the ideas of others~true science. Let's build and bounce!--User:Psitutor.

Yes educational resources using an open authoring approach is more user friendly and is targeting towards the intelligence aspect in a human being.quality is improved as the need of the individual is identified.```` SUREKAH rEECHAYE

It seems to me that with wider and wider communities driving content development, the higher the chances are for improved and greater quality of learning and educational materials. One would hope that participating communities are diverse and include practitioners, academics, and users and contributors of different backgrounds. Driss

--Paulette Cato 17:52, 24 October 2009 (UTC)--

Hello gladys. For question 1, I do think that because of the availability of technology and the world being flat(globalization), it is high time that examination institutions throughout the world should adhere as much as possible to a common and broad and flexible syllabus. What I mean is that it should not be rigid but should have enough materials to fit a syllabus. Then the questions about the quality of educational resources developed should be of good standards and should not originate from one body only. Lets suppose we have 10 teachers teaching the same topics to students of the same capabilities over a period of time. You will agree that the materials given to these students will not be the same for the ten teachers.

Moreover the method of delivery will again not be the same. In extreme cases, some teachers might be boring in their approach while others might be very inspiring. Therefore some students will be disadvantaged. But if we take the best from all these teachers, add them together and deliver them to the students on the same platform, using a variety of methods, we are sure to end up with value added work. In that sense , I think that an open authoring approach, vetted by a body(so as not to allow bias materials), do certainly contribute to high quality learning materials.

People from different countries, living different experiences, seeing things through different angles, may contribute enormously in the creation of knowledge for our cognitive mind, at the same time creating a better awareness of situations. People have conflicts when they think differently and have different awareness of situations. So we must have an open mind and be able to unlearn and relearn because we have at some times been brainwashed to think in a certain way only.

Chris gunnoo. educator from mauritius. gunnooc@gmail.com

Hello, Open authoring approaches to develop educational resources are sometimes viewed be not a sure source for information because anyone who has access can edit the resources. Misinformation or inaccuracies can be included in the resources and this is passed on to anyone referencing to these resources. On the other hand, open authoring approach helps to build up resources from different point of views, which can be very beneficial in terms of knowledge passed on to others. For example if we take a traditional classroom, the teacher is the only one who is giving his opinion or views, but his views can be biased and the students get information from only one source as compared to open authoring the source of information is more diversified. Sarita Marooty. --Sarita marooty 07:56, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Hello Yes, I do have some concerns regarding developing learning material through open approach. In the first place, how does one ensure the authenticity of materials developed thus? The solution, however, is not to shun it. The wiki community can ensure the authenticity and appropriateness of the content through constant interventions. It's a fact that most of us have learned to accept (though with a pinch of salt) the information provided in wikipedia and other webpages. Rohith

Well, as I have already mentioned earlier in my “self-introduction” that I am new to Wiki and that I still have loads to learn about it. However, I believe that besides promoting or encouraging active participation from others to share their knowledge, we cannot deny the fact that everything that they have written or shared, is a reliable source. To what extent it offers balance to information can be skeptic as the sources come from different persons’ perspective and some may not agree upon it. Soobhadrah Bokhoree--Soobhadrah 18:14, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Hello the open approach to developing materials ensures a higher quality because people from a variety of backgrounds bring different perspectives and make the work more comprehensive. This can be achieved through a relationship of trust within the community where each person has a strong sense of responsibility and commitment. Open education ressource development is still in its infancy and even if at the beginning there are some hurdles the movement will be self-regulatory. Georges Gracieuse --Ggracieuse 19:19, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

I find this is a very valid concern. Although there is value to bringing different perspectives regarding some topics, other topics require a high level of expertise and can be easily ill constructed. I think it is worthwhile exploring a couple of aspects that make wikis a good tool for learning. The first one is the learning acquired by a person posting a wiki when his/her content is changed. He or she might find that the changes improve the quality of what he/she was teaching, therefore making him/her a more reliable content expert and educator. Another one is that it opens the possibility of learning the approaches and quality of teaching that is happening around the world about a topic. If millions of people are using the same resource, the possibilities of correcting bad or inaccurate content can be an achievable goal.--Lucia Tono 00:34, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Hello there. I am quite excited about the opportunities that exist for collaborative production of resources. Being able to use wikis and the internet to develop teaching materials is simply an extension of what many of us have done for years working as a team in large departments. There are always some people who jealously guard their materials, whilst others happily share – that is human nature, isn’t it? But sharing resources and inviting others to contribute to their development ensures peer review and also enables us to try out someone else’s lesson ideas and fine tune them so that they can become even better. Surely this is a good thing? --Robeanne 09:10, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

There should always be concern about the accuracy of any material be it text book or otherwise. A text book is considered to be more accurate when it is peer reviewed. Wikis also have this advantage in that they are reviewed by many reviewers. Interesting I know of university lectures who maintain course notes for their students on Wikis. At the other end of the scale will be unsubstantiated content that remains unnoticed by those who may have better information, simply because not all experts are proficient in the ways of wikis.--Gilesl 09:17, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

I think it is exciting to develop educational resources using the open authoring approach. However my concerns are as follows: Is it possible to develop any educational resource in any topic using this approach or are some subjects/topics mote amenable to this? In the case of highly technical/specialized subjects can we still use this approach and can we always trust the contents? However on the positive side I think with a team of dedicated people, one can still achieve much and as Rohith has mentioned most of use have learnt to accept and use information on Wikipedia (including me) Smita

Open authoring approach provides great avenue for collaborativeness among learners, they take control of their learning. This permits the overall development of the person, however the learner will have to develop the appropriate information literacy skills (Isn't this additional cognitive burden on the learner?). they must learn to read critically because everything that is written is not necessarily correct.

For an educator this will definitely be worrying, we should care about what our students are reading.

We must make sure that the content of wiki page is right, that discussions are constructive and not just rely on the intelligence of the crowd. The best way to provide quality learning materials is to ensure that the wiki pages are edited and monitored by learners but also by suitably qualified professionals. educationals wiki pages must be visited very often by many teachers which will act as crowd moderator. --Gino 16:44, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

The use of open authoring approaches may be problematic in the development of course development for education. My main concern would be the quality assurance within the open approach. Quality may suffer because information can be altered by anyone at anytime. An auhtor may post an authoritative factually correct piece of work. This information may be altered by another user. How often do original authors go back to check their work? This is extremely time consuming and open to quality issues. Closed authoring resources on the other hand are subjected to all quality requirements and the information cannot be changed at will. Until quality is adressed in the open authoring environment it should not be considered for course development for open education. - Hylton Ferreira

Hello. I think open authoring approach is a good way of sharing knowledge and i think anyone contributing to educational resources should be skilled and reponsible enough to provide high quality learning materials. However, as a learner one may have some doubts about the correctness of inofrmation available on wikis. One can question whether it is a reliable source.--Reshma Sookun 23:14, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

According to me, educational resources developed using an open authorising approach enable collaboration and really teach us, but they are not 100% reliable. As they are open to collaborative editing, anyone can anonymously edit true and proper information into false and misleading one. Thus, the uncertainty in correctness of information remains question mark on the educational resourses developed using an open authorising approach. from: Deepa Bundhoo

In your opinion, should course development for education use closed or open authoring approaches? Give reasons for your view

  • I like the idea of open having worked in a university where materials were not updated regularly, some not in 10 years. Where, when I left I was threatened with being sued if I used certain tutor/lecturer materials (I had taught the classes for two years, why would I use their stuff...?! Drama queens). At a later tute with the student handed me a bunch of notes she had downloaded from the uni's Blackboard site that she found useful~ I had written them! And they were being used as teaching materials~ funny funny world. ~:-)

  • In my opinion course development for education should be closed authoring approaches to avoid misinformation and inaccuracies being introduced by others. However, if the educators feel that there is something interesting from an open authoring source, he or she may advice students to refer to that work. --Sarita marooty 08:05, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

  • Hello, I'd prefer using open approach method. Evidently, this could be problematic as regarding the quality of the content. However, material developed through closed approach are difficult to obtain and are quite expenssive. If one can make use of open authored content and can use them with due caution, there's nothing wrong. Rohith

  • Well, irrespective of its drawbacks that is, the information or its sources may not always be reliable, yet, I would rather go for open authoring approaches. In this way, we can have more recent and updated issues, news or information. Moreover, I believe that such practices can also allow or improve the efficiency and quality of teaching and learning since it can be accessible to anyone, though I would reiterate that we have to be careful about the quality of the content and its reliability. Soobhadrah Bokhoree --Soobhadrah 18:53, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

  • I think we probably need to use both. I deeply believe in the value of open authoring approaches but it is always useful to know that a reliable and highly trusted source is available if needed -- I would not throw away or dismiss the Encyclopedia Britanica for example. The key is to promote the participation of experts in the wikis and to make wiki content as reliable as possible.
  • Close authoring approaches have some obvious disadvantages. The educational needs are way too diverse and extended that it is impractical to have a few create educational materials for all. The idea of consensus is very valuable for some content, and we have to take into consideration that the same education material might need to be tweaked to be effective to different audiences.
  • Somehow this discussion reminds me of the discussions about knowledge with the invention of the print. Before the print, only a few highly educated were able to read and create "knowledge." With the advent of the print everyone could--in theory--create new knowledge that could contradict the status quo. Today, we are facing this same phenomena increased exponentially. Wikis are a reality and we have to figure out the best way to use them. The question is not open vrs close authoring strategies. The issue we should focus on is how we can use these tools for the well-being of us all.--Lucia Tono 01:22, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

  • So I firmly believe that course development for education should use open authoring approaches. Throughout history, knowledge has been built up in that way. Man has always improved on what his predecessors have done. But unfortunately development has been slow because of political reason, wrong belief , strong egos and the lack of proper communication. Today with new technology and the superhighway things are happening faster. Young people are digital natives, always in communication and collaborative. So we have to be adaptive and give opportunities to others and even giving a voice to the young to construct their world.

Chris Gunnoo--Chrisgun 11:32, 27 October 2009 (UTC) --Chrisgun 12:15, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

  • There are many reasons why open authoring approaches are beneficial and the time is ripe for that... I was wondering...Where did we get our knowledge? It surely did not come from the sky. We learned from previous discovery from others. Today with the knowledge explosion we learn a lot from universities after the knowledge have been gathered and vetted carefully. This process takes a long time. The information given to us has been transformed from hypothesis to theory. This was the way we were taught( brainwashed in a certain way, but this was the way). If I had the opportunity from my small country(unlike european countries and the like)of getting knowledge from great universities( which many of us didn't have)today,I would have been a great professor, author of many books because I had the drive to learn but did not have the means. I'm sure that many of you would be like me. So we have not been in the same playing field like other luckier people. Today we are filling our mind with diplomas, graduates, postgraduates, msc,phd and these are changing our cognitive structures of the brain. How far this is making us a better human being.One day we will leave this world through one common door and naked, leaving all these knowledge behind. So why not sharing the knowledge. We have always had an education of competition and affirming our ego. The more information we have the more we are keeping them inside ...in a safe...always afraid of losing them.The more we are getting educated the more life is becoming worse
  • I think that todays education should be about a revolution from inside, liberating from our ego and sharing... a change of attitude( a turn of 180 degrees if possible)... moving from a win,lose to a win win situation

Comments are welcomed. chris Gunnoo

  • Ideally course development for education should use an open authoring system but this is not an ideal world. The reality is far more complex and there are also financial and other implications in knowledge creation and sharing.In addition as one contributor has already mentioned the debate should not focus so much about close or open authoring systems but on using all resources at our disposal to promote education.With open authoring systems, I myself had the experience that some people with little actual knowledge of a topic can easily download an educational resource, tinker with it a bit and use it to teach others. However does this actually promote deep learning or a more superficial exchange of knowledge. We should not easily dismiss the more traditional ways...--Smita 03:58, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree with all the comments, particularly the comments from Soobhadrah,Chris, and Smita. Human intervention and technology can be employed to tackle this challenge. I am not convinced that this may be a pratical venture. The reason being:

  1. Time - Will these monitoring teams be available 24/7
  2. Vastness of the internet and the number of changes made in the Wiki environment
  3. Review of the information

Considering all the comments made, are all the efforts not in vein if the quality of the information is compromised through random acceptable changes by anyone? My suggestion would be that changes to the Wiki are not accepted automatically, but is subjected to a review process first. Chris suggested a comprehensive review process.- Hylton Ferreira

In my opinion it should be open authoring approach. But before publishing any content it should be reviewed and edited by experts to ensure correctness.--Reshma Sookun 23:26, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

What mechanisms can be adopted to assure quality of educational content developed in Wiki environments?

  • Peer-reviewed critique and perhaps a rating system, and offers from those who speak a language fluently to do the translation ~:-)
  • To ensure the quality of educational content developed in Wiki environments I think it is important to have a panel of members related to field who will examine the content before it is accessible to on the website. --Sarita marooty 08:06, 26 October 2009 (UTC). Rohith

  • peer-reviewing
  • interventions bby wiki users
  • a dedicated group of wiki volunteers

--Youshra.rajabalee 16:51, 26 October 2009 (UTC). Youshra Rajabalee

  • I prefer the idea of using open method for the developing of learning material because there is nothing wrong in using open authored content and it is helpful to have access to certain articles, while others required a particular payment on behalf of the author. I have been reading some articles on the net, and it has been stated that most researchers prefer open accessible contents due to its impact on their research. This is so, because there is a growing number of studies, artciles published and an open access to these is three times more likely to be cited than non-open access papers. However, the negative side of having open educational material when it is opened to SPAM and Vandalism if not managed properly.

  • Peer reviewing as this provides a rich diversity of perspectives but before the critics or any updated information is made accessible to the viewers or readers, they should be examined by facilitators to produce or ascertain high-quality and reliable content so that such knowledge environments provide the best educational (whether teaching and/or learning) and innovative development or approaches. Soobhadrah Bokhoree --Soobhadrah 19:45, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

  • I agree with the previous comments. --Lucia Tono 01:25, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

--Chrisgun 11:34, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

  • Web 2.0 tools allow collaboration and sharing through its platform. Just imagine large groups are formed among teachers around the world. They are then assigned to develop different topics for different subjects and syllabus. They would discuss, share, add, monitor, collaborate to produce these materials and would have them vetted by authorities (say, universities) and changed through time where necessary because of new development. Chris gunnooc@gmail.com

  • I think the same mechanisms should be used as are currently in place for the publications of research papers. In addition the user must be involved in this process.--Smita 04:01, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

I think content developed in wikis should be reviewed and edited by experts in the respective field.--Reshma Sookun 23:32, 3 November 2009 (UTC)