Teachers have an innate desire to share information. Collaboration is one way that teachers share and build common resources.
One of the tools on the CampusPress and Edublogs networks that teachers and students can use as a collaboration tool is the wiki plugin. The wiki plugin lets you add as many wikis pages to your blog as you like!
wiki (n). A website or database developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content – Oxford Dictionaries
One of the most well-known wikis is Wikipedia.
Wikis can be used in a wide range of ways including:
- Building teacher resources:
Get a group of teachers together and build an online resource for one or more subjects. This can be set up between teachers in a school, a group of teachers in a district, or even groups of teachers nationally and internationally. These resources can be public or private and can be used in the classroom to teach from.
- Building student resources:
Build an online student resource with a group of teachers that can be shared between your collective students. Teachers can teach from this resource, while students can refresh what they learned at home.
- Students developing their own resources:
Get your students to build online resources on small sections of the curriculum that can be used by their peers in the current year and students in the following year. This resource will build on itself each year.
- Student group projects:
Create a collaborative online project that is not only an online resource that lasts a lifetime but is also informative and can reach a wider audience. Projects can take two forms. The Wiki page can be the project, or the Wiki can showcase how a (physical) project was built and serves as evidence of the process. It can also act as a “help manual” to other students and teachers.
The first thing that needs to be done is extensive planning.
The wiki plugin allows for top-level and sub-wikis, which is ideal for creating structured content that is easy to navigate. Structure your information and use clearly defined wiki titles that inform site visitors of the wiki page content.
You will also need to decide on Categories and Tags. These will further help your site visitors find the information they are looking for.
Depending on what you are using the wiki for you need to decide whether you will have the wiki running on a single site, therefore run the wiki as a collective resource, or on a number of sites, as might happen in group projects for students.
Next, decide whether the content you want to share is public or private. The CampusPress and Edublogs sites come with extensive privacy settings.
Set Up Wikis
1. Activate the wiki plugin in Plugins > All Plugins.
2. Go to Wikis > Add Wiki
3. Create your top-level wiki by adding your wiki title and content.
- You can choose to add content to this wiki page or not, but be careful not to add too much information, as the sub-wiki links that display on this page will be lost at the bottom of a long page.
All sub-wikis are created from this wiki page on the front-end of your site.
These settings will automatically get passed down to all sub-wiki pages. By setting these up the way you want to now, you will save time later by not having to add these settings to every sub-wiki page you create.
Wiki Category: Create a category that will represent all sub-wikis of that page.
Your sub-wikis will automatically be assigned that category when they are created. You can also add additional categories to sub-wikis.
Wiki Tags: As with Categories, assigning tags to this page will be passed on to all sub-wikis created.
Wiki Privileges: These are important as they will determine who has access to change your information your wiki.
Wiki E-mail notifications allow site users to be notified every time the wiki has been updated. This is useful if you are monitoring your students’ project progress. They can also monitor each other.
Wiki E-mail notifications show on your Wiki page as the following image if you are logged in to the site:
Wiki E-mail notifications show on your Wiki page as the following image if you are not logged in to the site:
Discussion: Depending on the type of Wiki you are running, Discussion might be useful for you to ask your student’s comments on their project, or simply get feedback from your peers.
Your Wiki Page
Your Wiki page looks slightly different for logged in users and visitors to your site.
This ensures your data is safe and cannot be edited unless you have set the Wiki Privileges to “Anyone”
When logged out:
When logged in:
In your planning above, you would have listed a set of sub-wiki pages.
You can create these pages and have them ready for content to be added.
Remember wikis are a collaborative effort so content will be added to these pages in time, and they will not be blank for long.
However, you want to add a summary of what you expect the page content to be.
Clicking the Create new tab opens a form where you add the sub-wiki title and content.
Adding sub-wiki pages adds a bullet list to your top-level wiki page.
You can add sub-wikis of sub-wikis, depending on your needs.
Editing Wiki Pages
Edit Tab: The edit tab opens the front end editor. This allows users with the correct permissions to edit the wiki.
History Tab: The history tab shows all the changes to the wiki by every user that worked on the wiki over a period of time.
This allows you to roll back to a previous version if the information added is not correct.
As a teacher running group projects, you can monitor your students’ contributions using the history tab.
The Discussion Tab
If you “Allowed Comments,” the Discussion Tab will be visible, and this enables visitors to your wiki to add comments.
The discussion tab is also useful for teachers to jump in and make suggestions. Students can also discuss the progress of the project here.
Change Wiki Page Order
Wiki Attributes (Order): Wiki Order allows you to set the order that sub-wikis appear in.
In a list of wikis, a wiki with the order set to 0 will show before a wiki with the order set to 1, for example.
The quickest and easiest way to set the wiki order is to go to Wikis > Wikis in your dashboard.
In the list of wikis that displays, select Quick Edit, and enter a number in the Order field.
Once done, click Update.
The order of the sub wikis on your top-level wiki page will now change.
Your wiki plugin comes with built-in breadcrumbs which are the links back to the previous pages you navigated.
Menus: You can create a Custom Menu which can be placed on your site using the Custom Menu Widget.
Widgets: The wiki plugin comes packaged with three widgets. Display the wiki widgets according to your needs.
Wiki Widget: Displays your current wikis.
New Wiki Widget: Displays new wikis that have been added.
Popular Wiki Widget: Displays the most popular wikis.
Wiki Page Navigation
The Table of Contents plugin is an effective way of automatically setting up a Table of Contents for your wiki. This is very useful for long Wiki pages.
The TOC+ plugin takes your Headings you create in your wiki post and automatically turns them into a table of contents.
In order for the Table of Content to show on your wiki, go to Settings > TOC+
In the TOC+ settings, select where you would like the Table of Contents to show, and select
Now make sure your Wiki posts has headings.
Once you have completed your headings, they will show at the top of your wiki in the form of a Table of Contents.
Your Wiki is now set up.
Share Your Wikis
Leave a comment below to share how you have used wikis with your students.