Web-based wikis are used widely in both academic and professional spaces. These shared digital artifacts enable users to update, organize, and build upon each other’s contributions and knowledge. They also provide opportunities for users to build collaboration skills. Through wiki contributions and interactions, students engage in tasks similar to ones they’d face in their respective fields. However, the more the interactions and the number of wiki authors increase, the more difficult it becomes to properly assess these contributions at scale.

Researchers set out to assess skill development and interactions in wiki assignments. 43 students enrolled at the University of Cádiz were selected to participate in a computer science course that required them to develop a wiki-based project. Students were directed to develop their projects within a wiki page, assess the contributions of their peers, and then submit their final assignments to instructors for evaluation. Using a qualitative approach, researchers examined how the students worked both individually and as part of a team on their wiki page.

Using AssessMediaWiki, a software tool developed specifically to evaluate student wiki contributions at scale, researchers were able to take a closer look at the quality of a student’s wiki contribution. They were able to detect, for example, if a student who appeared to contribute heavily by one measure had simply copied and pasted large chunks of information from other sources onto the wiki page. Researchers could also detect internal group dynamics, noting differences in wiki page completion and comprehension when members were not communicating well with one another.

What this indicates is that wiki authors need to be encouraged not just to contribute new information to wikis, but to share their own ideas and personal reflections on assignments in order to make their interactions and contributions meaningful. Being able to collaborate with others while accurately assessing the quality of their own interactions will help students to build the skills they will need to become collaborative team members in their respective fields.

Balderas, A., Palomo-Duarte, M., Dodero, J. M., Ibarra-Saíz, M. S., Rodríguez-Gómez, G. (2018). Scalable authentic assessment of collaborative work assignments in wikis. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education. 15(40).

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