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Use of wikis in the L2 classroom and its usefulness in online wiki-based courses.

In the past, teachers used to have a hard time when giving classes due to the lack of tools available. To write an essay the person had to use archaic tools, such as a typewriter. To be able to communicate with somebody an individual had to use the telephone in our houses. Nowadays, technological advancements have taken over the world.

Writing an essay or communicating with somebody are actions that can be done much more easily than before. Almost every single thing teachers do is related to technology. The field of education is not an exception when it comes to technological advancements. A teacher can use any of the new age electronic tools (Web 2.0) to take advantage or improve a course. This type of tools are easier to use as time passes by, as well they provide much more options than old machines such typewriters do. A person can simply put a laptop in a backpack and have lots of tools available wherever he or she goes. Typewriters are really heavy and all you can do is create d Are you missing something here?

The purpose of this literature review is to delve deeper into wikis, a tool used all around the world to share. It is a very interesting tool, because can be used on a wide variety of courses, whether they are online or face-to-face courses. Another appealing characteristic is the easiness of information edition, everyone with access to the wiki and the course can edit the content, a perfect tool to promote interaction among students. This research question is going to be used for this document, is it possible to use a wiki to carry out a course with effective interaction between teacher-students and students-students?

 Use of Web 2.0 tools in teaching became part of the teaching-learning process.

The use of the Internet is intended to create attractive designs for the users throughout the internet. The design used for these pages is HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). Considering this, it means that these pages are not constantly updated. According to Yang (n.d.) The term of Web 2.0 is coined by Tim O'Reilly and Dale Dougherty in the year of 2004 due to a conference carried out by O'Reilly Media. Even though the term suggests a new World Wide Web, but it works more as an update rather than a new interface. The definition of Tim O'Reilly for Web 2.0 is: "Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform." (as cited in Yang, N.D. P. 6) Make sure you follow the MEAL for each paragraph in your body.  Here you are missing the analysis and link.

There are marked differences between Web 1.0 and 2.0. According to Yang: "Some of the more obvious difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are: DoubleClick replaced by Google AdSense, Britannica Online replaced by Wikipedia, Personal Web Pages replaced by Blogs, Content Management Systems replaced by Wikis and Directories replaced by Tagging." (Yang. N.D. P. 7.). With these improvements, the distances between people are shorter than they used to be before the updating to Web 2.0. The creation of social networks also formed an important revolution on the way that people communicates.

Most common electronic tools in the classroom provide benefits in contrast with other type of materials.

Each tool from Web 2.0 could have an use inside the classroom, but some of them could have a major impact on the students. 
Blogs are personal webpages that keeps information uploaded by the author. People visiting the webpage could only read the information, but after the Web 2.0 revolution, "Blogging software was developed. Now those who had personal websites could not only post about themselves, but they could allow their visitors to comment on what had been posted or ask questions. It was a huge advancement." (Yang. N.D. P. 8.).

A tool commonly used is Podcasting, they are recordings about several different topics that allow people to listen to the information they want to, instead of reading it or looking for it somewhere else. With a tool as powerful as this, a teacher can easily record a class, or an activity and tell the students to listen to the class or answer the exercise. This is a good tool for students to check assignments online. They can also check it before class to have a preview on the topic that is going to be seen in class.

Another helpful tool when teaching english is the wiki. They provide interaction between students, as well as collaborative learning, which gives the students the opportunity to receive complete and bilateral feedback. In one hand, the teacher can provide feedback for the students, and in the other hand, other students can support the feedback to achieve a complete feedback. Another great advantage of wikis is that they are made to be modified, allowing students and teachers to manage the information as they see fitable. "All wikis are constantly changing. Features are added or upgraded, content gets edited, and registered users participate in modifications trhoughout the wiki pages." (Brown, Huettner & James-Tanny, 2007. P.302). This characteristic help teachers to make quick modifications in case they are needed.

Origin of the word “wiki” and how it is accepted as a teaching tool.

Wikis are sharing tools that work in a really quick way. According to Shu and Chuang (2011) the term “wiki”, which comes from the Hawaiian “wee kee wee kee”, means fast. It refers mainly to the speed in which information is shared and modified by the wiki users. As it can be appreciated, wikis are a quick option to post information and develop a course or activity. wikis also are easily and quickly edited, as well as the options they provide are easily and quickly accessed.

Some of the implications related to using wikis in a classroom according to Duffy & Bruns (2006) are thath wikis are websites that allow the user to add conent, and it can be edited by the users. This characteristic is related to the "history" of the page, which allow the users to have a track of what they have been doing. They also tend to be open, but they can also be personal. Wikis also involve creation of documents without HTML knowledge. Finaly, wikis provide a space where knowledge becomes networked but ephemeral in that it can be changed and mediated by the community.

Considering these aspects, wikis are one of the most powerful tools to develop almost any type of course, whether it is an online course or a face-to-face course. Even though, there must be special considerations when using wikis. If a teacher is outdated with technology, the result is likely to be a failure. 
Also, even if the teacher is in contact with technology and has considerable knowledge on how to handle electronic tools, some of the wikis are hard to manage. And even more, if the teacher can manage any wiki, there will always be some students who will have problems working with them, even if the wiki have a friendly interface. For this reason, the teacher must be aware of this and provide clear and effective input sessions to teach students how to work and handle at least the basic tools of the wiki they are working on.

                                                                                                 Wikis and the Behavior presented by wiki users.

Wikis work as a social connector for students

Working on wikis can be a great experience for the students, if the course or activity is carried out correctly. Wikis provide the appropriate environment to achieve communication and work as a social connector for students. According to the research of Shu and Chuang (2011) reveals that wikis are “customer centric”, and they require the user to greatly involve into the wiki to guarantee their success. All of this is because wikis have a collaborative nature.Considering this, the teacher should also consider the group profile to analyze if a wiki course or activity can be carried out. If the group behaves in a careless way, it is more difficult to move forward on the course. If the group has this type of behavior, it is the teacher’s duty to determine the best course of action to involve the students into the course. Once the course has started, it works as a social connector for students. They can be in contact with their classmates and friends, as well as with their assignments and homework. Also, considering that most of students love to work with technology, finding the way to get students involved in wikis is not that difficult.

Wikis encourage students to provide feedback thanks to the anonymity it provides Is this a heading?

Some students may feel frightened when asked to provide face-to-face feedback to a partner. Vratulis and Dobson claim that: “The anonymity of the Internet, for example, allows participants to “try on” alternate identities and potentially to liberate themselves from their “real-life” social status.” Following this line of thought, students can interact with relatively easier rather than having a face-to-face discussion. It works in a productive way, specifically if the students within the course tend to be shy. By doing this, the teacher can provide a valuable help to foster students’ self confidence within the classroom environment.If the student is confident, they have the security to provide more objective and complete feedback.

Also, students start to create social hierarchies when using wikis. If this happens, it can help the course and the students, because if a leader emerges from among the students, they can feel the backup of that leader. But it can also negatively impact the development of the course. According to Chase (2002), “the greater the number of hierarchical structures within a group, the less opportunity there is for network relations to build.” (As cited in Vratulis and Dobson, 2008. P. 288). This idea can easily appear in any wiki course, if the group has a lot of strong egos, then the appearance of leaders and hierarchies will appear almost undoubtedly, and thus, making hard to carry out the course properly.

Students improve their interaction when using wikis appropriately.

Wikis can work as a tool to foster interaction between students. They are free to upload any information to the wiki page; or to any other wiki user’s page as long as they keep the adequate required netiquette. Although, some authors consider that further research on this specific topic is still required. Elgost (2008). Says, “Research that addresses pedagogical benefits and pitfalls of using wikis as a collaborative learning tool is still rather limited” (As cited in Guo and Stevens, 2011. P. 221). Considering this statement, further analysis on the subject might be needed, but even though, wikis still are a valuable tool that can be used by teachers to promote interaction among students, even if the interaction is not face to face. Furthermore, if the course is carried out properly, the teacher can create the adequate environment to strengthen students’ relationships.

                                                                                   Feedback found in wikis helps improve students' achievement.

Presence of collaborative learning represents a window to improve the quality of the feedback.

One of the main feats found in wikis is the capacity to provide feedback. Some students feel more confident when being alone and in front of a computer monitor, instead of facing their classmates. The teacher can take advantage of this, to show the students the way to provide quality feedback. If the student feels confident, he can then start to manage the collaborative learning. According to Noble (2005), “Collaborative learning is learning that occurs as the result of interaction between peers engaged in the completion of a common task.” Considering this, wikis allow students to have a common goal and give and receive quality feedback, this happens because they have a common task to complete as well as they are encouraged by watching the advancements and receiving the feedback from other classmates.

Furthermore, when a student is integrated on an active way they tend to have a better developing of their skills. According to Gross (1993), “Students learn best when they are actively involved in the process.” For this reason, it is good for students to get involved into the activities, but not only in a shallow way, but deeply and actively. By doing this, the student is embraced by the environment of the course.

A wiki works as a chain that can link and make closer the bonds between students. Phillipson (2005), claims: “Wikis drive collaboration, they promote community, they spur interactivity.” (As cited in Cummings and Barton, 2008. P. 19). The versatility of wikis allow teachers and students to use them in-class and/or at home, providing an important edge in front of some other tools. Some other tools require for the teacher and student to be present before starting working with them.

Peer to peer feedback allow students to develop their social and academic skills.

Students can provide useful feedback when working on wiki-based courses. Even though, sometimes it can be difficult to understand the interactions and the way the students may behave when facing wikis. According to Vratulis and Dobson (2008), “In formal education contexts, understanding of social negotiations in online spaces is limited, as well, because application of social software spaces in such settings has become widespread only in the last decade, and particularly since the rise of Web 2.0.” Considering this statement, further investigation on students’ interaction should be carried out. Even if the information available right now is not that wide, peer to peer feedback is a positive aspect from the use of wikis.

Electronic tools should provide certain level of interaction after the feedback. According to Chickering and Ehrmann. (1996), "technologies...develop reciprocity and cooperation among students, as well as give prompt feedback" (as cited in Beldarrain, 2006. P.144). This information is in favor of using new technologies to develop strategies such as giving feedback and enhancing cooperation between students. A wiki course carried out properly can provide a good environment for these characteristics to be developed easily.

Teacher - student feedback permit students to enhance the quality of their academic tasks and fosters communication between them.

The use of wikis helps the development of stronger relationships between teacher and students. According to Lazda-Cazers (2010), “the teacher takes on the role of
an educational facilitator who offers as much assistance as possible by encouraging
students repeatedly to feel at ease to ask for help if necessary”. As it is observable, a wiki allow the teachers to have this type of interaction with the students, as well as to strengthen those bonds.

Also, it is important to decide the type of wiki the teacher will use during the course, a teacher can create its own wiki, but it implies time and effort that probably teacher cannot spare. On the other hand, the teacher can use a hosted wiki. According to Wikibooks (2003) in a hosted wiki, “most technical decisions and support issues are handled by someone else, and you handle the social aspects of growing the wiki.” Considering the enormous amount of wikis on the web, a teacher can easily chose the one that fits the necessities of the course and students to have a better development of the course.


The use of wikis around the world has become more and more common. The multiple options they offer are a good reason to keep using them. They can greatly improve the social and educational relationships between the student and the teacher, as well as with the other classmates. Wikis also provide the perfect ground for collaborative learning to appear, students can get help from classmates to improve their learning. Also, providing feedback can be much easier for students using wikis, the anonymity it provides is good for those students who are afraid to expose their opinions face-to-face.

These and some other useful options are the reason why wikis are getting more and more famous through the different educational systems around the world. Even though, there are still some limitations that must be researched and improved in order to understand wikis as much as possible and keep obtaining optimal results when used during a course. Some of the results might vary between countries or continents; this is why further research must be done in order to understand the behavior of wikis and its users.

Collaborative learning happens most of the time when courses are carried out using wikis. But if the teacher is not competent to manage and decide which wiki to use, then the course might be an utter failure. To sum up, it is demonstrated that wikis are a helpful and useful tool as long as the teacher has the necessary knowledge to decide when to use a wiki and what wiki should he use on a specific course.

You're missing your references section.

Annotated Bibliography

Brown, K., Huettner, B. James-Tanny, Ch. (2007) Managing virtual teams: getting the most from wikis, blogs, and other collaborative tools. Plano, Texas: Wordware Publishing Inc.

The authors talk about how to manage a team through to work with collaborative tools. Their book focuses on helping managers to work with the collaborative tools that better suits the team. The usefulness of the book is very shallow at a simple glance, but there is a special section where they teach you how to work with a wiki step by step, which can be very helpful for the people who is not that used to work with them. The limitation is that they only focus on a specific wiki, even though, most of them work under the same or similar pattern. The author helps team leaders to take better and good decisions when working with a team. This work will not help me with my theoretical part that much, but it will be a great help on how to use wikis.

Gilbert, D., Chen, H. & Sabol, M. Building learning communities with wikis. In R. Cummings; M. Barton (Eds.) Wiki writing: collaborative learning in the college classroom. Michigan: University of Michigan Press.

The authors help teachers to understand the use of wikis in a variety of course environments. The research used interviews, observations, analysis and reflections with students from the university of Stanford to obtain information on when to apply the use of a wiki within a course. The chapter offers strategies for the teachers to know when is the best moment to work with a wiki. The article is useful to my research topic because it can help me to realize the problems a course may present if wikis are not the best option to work with. The main limitation is that it is focused only on a specific geographic area and the results may not be generalized. The auther indicates that the chapter is helpful for teachers to detect difficulties between course goals and participant activities with wikis. Thi information can be helpful to my research when I need to review the problems I could face to try to avoid obstacles and obtain better results, even though it will not form the basis of my research.

Gross, B. (1993). Collaborative learning: group work and study teams. Retrieved from

The author explains how a collaborative learning group should be carried out. The review is intended to give advices to teachers who want to create collaborative learning groups or teams. The webpage focuses on any course that needs to be carried out through collaborative learning. This webpage is useful to my research because, even though wikis are not mentioned, an important part of wikis is the collaborative learning. So, it may present useful strategies when working with my students. The main limitation is that wikis are not mentioned. The author intends to gather information about collaborative learning to explain the best courses of action to follow when working this way. This webpage will not form part of my primary source of information, but I will find useful tips when working in a collaborative learning environment.

Guo, Z. Stevens, K. (2011). Factors influencing perceived usefulness of wikis for group collaborative learning by first year students. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. 37(2). 221-242

The authors identified the factors affecting the use and usefulness when working with wikis within collaborative learning environments. The data was collected through the use of a survey containing key dependant and independant variables, covering aspects such as demographic information of students and their knowledge towards wikis. The research focuses on workshops from a course of information systems in bussiness. The article is useful to my research topic because there are aspects that need to be taken into consideration such as the level of usefulness of wikis. The main limitation is that the use of technology in this course is not mandatory, so the information cannot be generalized. The authors indicate that the use of wikis does not guarantee a succesful group collaboration, it depends on how the course is carried out. This article will form an important part of my research because I need to analyze these implications to try to reduce the possible problems when working with wikis.

Lazda-Cazers, R. (2010) A Course Wiki: Challenges in Facilitating and Assessing Student-Generated Learning Content for the Humanities Classroom. The Journal of General Education, 59(4), 193-222.

In this Article Ladza-Cazers describe how students created a learning content wiki and their responses to the experience. The author selected a course called Germanic Mythology, which had not been taught for several years, making a wiki a central part of the course. The research focuses on undergraduate students at the university. As well as their interactions and learning within the wiki environment. This research is useful for my topic because Lazda-Cazers suggest that new technologies allow the redesigning of old-fashioned courses, as well as providing a collaborative learning. The central limitation of the article is that it only focuses on a very specific topic such as “Germanic Mythology”. The author realized that the use of wikis as a central part of a course works better if an iterative approach is followed. This article will not form part of the main core of my research. Even though, it helps to know how wiki courses are carried out and to check the level of efficiency of them.

Noble, A. (2005). Collaborative learning. Retrieved from

The author explains the meaning of collaborative learning and how to take advantage of it. The author focuses on providing a guide on how to use collaborative learning to their fellow teachers within the university. This small guide on how to take advantage of collaborative learning is useful not only to any research involving wikis, but to everyone looking for useful information about this topic. The main limitation of the webpage is that it is focused on the teachers inside a specific university. The author created a nice informative webpage to know and get in touch with collaborative learning basics. This webpage will form part of the last part of my literature review because it is where I will talk about collaborative learning.

Shu, W. Chuang, Y. (2011) The behavior of wiki users. Social Behavior and Personality, 39(6), 851-864.

This article pretends to find who are the good wiki users and their behavior towards wikis. The research was carried out through the use of a questionnaire concerning aspects such as the level of involvement with wikis, social influence of wikis, etc. They sent the questionnaire via internet to several online communities, chat rooms, bulletin boards, etc. With a total of 243 valid questionnaires. At first sight, the article could be very helpful to know the approximate number of wiki users on the web, unfortunately, my research is only intended for UAA students, so the statistics may not be very helpful. Even though, the behavior might be similar, and I could take advantage of it. The main limitation is that the research was carried on a specific demographic area. The behavior of wiki users is shown to comprehend a little bit more about users' intentions and expectations when working with wikis. My objective with this article is to interpret the behavior of wiki users to have an idea of how may my students behave or react towards a wiki-based environment.

Wikibooks(2003). Retrieved from

This webpage contains a walkthrough on how to create your own wiki. The webpage is intended for every person in needs of creating a wiki. The author focuses as well on whether to host your own wiki or go to an already hosted wiki. This webpage is really useful to my research in order to create a wiki or learn how to host it in any other electronic domain. The limitation is that probably some people will not know how to follow the steps, because they are no used to this type of technologies. The author compiled a series of usefuls steps to start working with a wiki. This webpage may form an important part on my research because the advices in there are really useful to newcomers using wikis.

Vratulis, V & Dobson, T. (2008) Social negotiations in a wiki environment: a case study with pre-service teachers. Educational Media International, 45(4), 285-294.

The authors present a case study where pre-service teachers are investigated to discover how they interact and create social negotiations. The researchers presented a series of questionnaires to keep track of their interaction on a wiki-based course. Their research focuses on discovering if social interactions and hierarchies were achieved during the research. There are no big limitations, because the instruments were applied to several participants. The authors try to convince the audience of the social interactions that happen during an online wiki course. This work will be a great help to my research know how my students can react to the use of a wiki.

Yang, K. (n.d.). Web 2.0 The Latest Internet Wave. Available from

The author reviews the importance of the electronic tools that arrived with the web 2.0 revolution. The author of the book compares the different tools used nowadays and how they have helped to improve the development of technology. It mainly focuses on the social tools from web 2.0. The book is useful to my topic because wikis are one of the many tools used nowadays thanks to the web 2.0 tools. The main limitation of the book is that the information is too brief to explain each electronic tool as it is deserved. It is a good book to consult basic information on these tools. This book will form part of my supplementary information due to the brief information it contains.


  • Word count 2,583. Make sure you have three sections only, and three-to-five paragraphs in each section.  Work on your introduction, making sure that you state a problem in the first paragraph and that you include a thesis statement in your second paragraph that links to your problem.  The reasons section of your thesis statement will be your topics you cover in each of the three sections of your literature review.  Click here to see some helpful videos.  Link your conclusion to your thesis statement and summarize the main points that you've previously discussed. Remember not to include any new information in your conclusion. Also, discuss future implications and ideas for further research related to your topic.   --Bnleez 18:25, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
  • See me about your headings. --Bnleez 05:05, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
  • See Adriana's annotated bibliography as an example. Check your use of bold text (to be avoided), spacing, APA, alphabetize references, etc. --Bnleez 13:38, 19 October 2011 (UTC)