Week 9 Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

March 5, 2012   Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing

Articles I Read:

Pfeil, U., Zaphiris, P., & Ang, C. S. (2006). Cultural differences in collaborative authoring of Wikipedia. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(1), article 5. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue1/pfeil.html    

Lin, M.-F., Sajjapanroj, S., & Bonk, C. J. (2011, October-December). Wikibooks and Wikibookians: Loosely-coupled community or the future of the textbook industry? IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 4(4). Available: http://www.computer.org/portal/web/tlt

Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg (2010, March). How Today’s College Students Use Wikipedia for Course-related Research, First Monday, Volume 15, Number 3 – 1.  http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2830/2476

Wikibook from Dwight Allen class (Old Dominion University) on Social and Cultural Foundations of Education: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Social_and_Cultural_Foundations_


source:  http://rainbows.typepad.com/blog/2011/04/index.html

The articles I read for this class never cease to amaze me.  My first reaction to reading articles about wikis was, “yawn, what is there to know about wikis?  I already know how Wikipedia works, so what am I missing?”  The first article I read was about the cultural differences found in the authors of Wikipedia.  I could hardly “put the article down,”  hmm…can I still say that if I’m reading it on a laptop?  I think a new expression needs to be created.   Let me know when you think of it.  Anyway,  I was engrossed in the article because the researchers found that not all cultures have the same beliefs and ideas about how to write collaboratively.  I enjoy learning about other cultures because it is refreshing to know that there is more to this world then just America.  (Don’t tell the government I said that 🙂 )  Too often the media shares only a “single story” and that’s all I know.

I especially enjoyed Hofstede’s research on cultures such as the Power Distance Index, Individualism Index, Masculinity Index,  and the Uncertainty Avoidance Index. It would be cool to create an infographic of what the research has uncovered.

I think it would have been interesting if the Wikipedia research gathered these individuals together and interviewed them in a focus group.  I’d love to know how they would react to what this research discovered.  I’d also love to know how they felt about the differences.  Would they have strong opinions thinking their way was correct and right?  Would they accept the differences as another way to approach writing wikis?  Cultural perceptions really change how we view our world and it alters our reality.

The “Wikibookian” article revealed that not all wiki writers are academics.  I thought about how wikis could be used in the K12 setting.  I remembered the “Young Authors” program from elementary school.  Wikibooks could certainly change the way students write books in this program.  In this sense, they would have a clear purpose and motivation to write because they could collaborate with others.  They would have an audience.  They would use technology.  They could continue to improve upon what they have already written.

I  am a little surprised that the wiki writers have no qualms with ownership.  If they put  a lot of effort into a wiki, I would expect that they would at least want to claim it as their own.

I have never heard of these words until now, “Wikifarm, Wikispecies, Wikiquote, Wikinews, Wikiversity, Wiktionary, Wikisource, Commons, and Meta-Wiki.”  Interesting.

The other day someone called me “Wiki-Kim.”  I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or not 😉  I guess it’s better than being called a “Bookworm.”

Can it really be true that Wikipedia is the fourth influential brand impacting lives of professionals and students ranking below Google, Apple, and YouTube?  Wow.

When I read this I wondered if Wikipedia has made an impact on me.  By golly, it has!  I do subconsciously consider it more credible than websites or blogs that I might find in a Google search.  When I read the article, “Today’s College Students..” I related with the results completely.  If I want to get a quick understanding of something, I use Wikipedia.  Whether it appears as the first search result or not, I am most likely to skim the search engine results for the Wikipedia page.  I like Wikipedia because the content is easy to understand, the content is organized in a easy-to-read, consistent and organized manner and it is convenient.  I would not want to cite Wikipedia in important work; nonetheless, I would use it for informal assignments such as forum posts and initial research.  For my purposes, the information on the Wikipedia page is an extension of the search engine and provides me with enough information to then dig deeper in journal articles and scholarly books.

It was difficult, but after I removed the cobwebs from my brain, I remembered what I did before Wikipedia.  I remember way back in the 1990’s when I was an undergrad, I had a favorite blue college edition encyclopedia.  I relied on it to explain the gist of topics that I didn’t know much about or to refresh my memory.  The only problem was, if I didn’t get a clear picture, then I had to either resort to the dusty green encyclopedias my parents bought centuries ago from a door-to-door salesman, I had to make a trip to the library (which never seemed to be open during the hours that I studied), or worse yet, I could do nothing at all.  Now I realize how important Wikipedia is to me.  I will never take it for granted again 🙂

I learned that Wikipedia documents each revision.  I wondered about that.  It wouldn’t make sense for a writer’s work to be completely erased by the next writer.  I’m curious about how often hackers go into these sites and wreak havoc. I would assume Wikipedia has good security though.  On the one hand, I can’t imagine that a hacker would go to that much trouble but then again they might think they were pretty funny to go in and write inaccurate information for a laugh.  I wonder what criteria or standards are available for wiki writing.  What sources do the writers generally use?  Is there a requirement for the type of sources that are allowed?  Or anything goes?

I had to look again at the date of when Wikipedia was started.  January 15, 2001.  That wasn’t that long ago.  I still can’t believe how much progress we have made with technology.  I wonder what exactly has driven the increase of technology over the last couple of decades?  I imagine there is an article out there about that.

I am not really surprised that the wiki community is willing to write for free.  If the writers are educated academics, then it is in their nature to want to write and share their knowledge with others.  They feel a sense of accomplishment.  Because of this, they don’t mind doing it for free because they have no expectation of something in return.   In effect, wikis give them opportunities to master their craft.

The last article I read, “What is the Allen/Cosby Theory of Change?” is not telling me anything I haven’t thought of already.  Obviously, we need national commitment for our education system.  Of course, half-hearted efforts are not going to strengthen or unify our educational community.  What I did find interesting was the notion of “rekindling the American drive and commitment” as was done in the 1960’s.  What was that like?  Were the leaders inspirational?  Were the people driven as a result of fear of the race against other countries?  Did Americans believe in themselves?  Were Americans reacting for personal gain or for patriotism?  Were educators and students supposed to feel this inspiration with the current race, “Race to the Top” and from the “The World is Flat” book?  Why isn’t this working?  Are we lacking something we had in the 1960’s?  Or is education stagnant because the community has been down this road before?  It would be interesting to talk with someone who has lived throughout these decades.  Again, I realize that I am drawn to the history.  I think the history of technology, education, teaching methods, etc. is important to me because I want to know what has already been done and figure out how to improve upon it.  What hasn’t been done?

I agree with many other points made in this article.  I agree that teachers probably do stick with “safe” methods.  If they do not have a supportive environment for experimentation then it would be risky to drastically try new things.

I made 2 connections to the statement about “experimental schools.”  The first connection relates to Dr. Tony Bennett’s presentation I saw last semester.  He spoke fondly of charter schools.  During the Q&A session, one of the audience members asked him what he thought about the charter schools that are failing.  Another audience member asked him what his thoughts were about experimenting with our children’s education.  He said the past initiatives have failed in public schools so he is willing to support any charter school that is innovative and increases student  achievement.

The other connection I made was the thought of having experimental schools.  I wonder why there is such a disconnect between researchers in universities and practicing teachers?  I think university faculty should bridge their research between preservice and inservice teachers.  If money is an issue then restructure it.  If researchers/universities could “adopt” or focus on particular schools,  conduct research,offer support, and make a commitment, then I think we would all learn a lot from each other.  Mistakes would not be repeated if instruction was based on research.

Maybe this new social and collaborative society will steer us in the right direction.

Adobe Premiere Elements Cool Trick #9:

Dream Sequence

German Words:

die Liebe auf den ersten Blick  love at first sight

verknallt sein  have a crush

die Freundschaft  friendship

gemeinsam  in common

herumhangen hang out

der Schulfreund  schoolfriend (boy)

die Schulfreundin schoolfriend (girl)

einladen invite

der Kumpel mate

der gemeinsame Freund mutual friend

der Freundeskreis circle of friends

der Fremde stranger

source:  Babbel app

Here is a video spoken in German.  The only word I understood was, “gute,” but it sure was funny 🙂



One comment on “Week 9 Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing

  1. Curt Bonk says:

    Is it “die Liebe auf den ersten Blick” with Wikipedia? Perhaps it it just a verknallt sein. Maybe it is a casual die Freundschaft. Whatever, it is, apparently, we all want more and more of it.

    Wikipedia, as you note, has changed the landscape of education. Many of these. I too remember going to the neighbor’s house to use their encyclopedias until my mom went to the grocery store enough and spent enough money for use to own our own volumns. Unfortunately, I think I had left for college at the time. I also had a back-up plan like you–the public library. It was located 1 block from my elementary school. Hence, I could go hang out there after 1st and 2nd grade class and find what I needed.

    My teacher in 1st grade said I was behind in reading and writing, so, in 2nd grade, I did a record 120 book reports. Most of them on an Encyclopedia Brown novel. That task forced me to learn how to skim, look for themes, search text for key words, and so on. I was doing what we have to do today to do all these reports. It helped me learn how to weed through so much stuff and find the plumbs. Unfortunately, today, that library is now a funeral home. I guess that is appropriate given what has transpired the past few decades since I graduated from 2nd grade and attended the rest of my elementary school training at the other end of town in a Catholic School.

    You are right that there is much interesting research here, Issues of ownership–do Wikibookians just want to share knowledge? What are the new forms of content ownership that are acceptable, understandable, or in the process of becoming more accepted? Are hackers and trolls really messing around to be funny here on April Fools Day or is there something more alarming going on?

    Much research is needed. You point to the tensions between such research what teachers in schools actually know about that research. Perhaps that can be one of your life goals–to build such bridges. Right? Perhaps it will be you doing the focus groups what you speak about. Perhaps it will be you who provides the history of the field to others in a decade or so down the road. I too like history and learning from the past. I have often thought that I should have been a history teacher.

    What do we need Wikipedia for? Yes, starter searches for research. Yes, train schedules and temperature data of places we may soon visit. You are right, we need an infographic on all this. Someone, in fact, sent me an infographic on wikipedia a few weeks ago and wanted me to promote it. Send me an email and I will see if I can trace it down and send to you. Kelly reminded me of an article in First Monday from 2010 that I shared with students in this class last year. You might read it.

    How college students use Wikipedia for course related research.

    Much rich and interesting data in that article. Read it Wiki-Kim and tell us what it says to you. Smile. I can imagine someone in Korea naming their son or daughter Wiki Kim or Wiki-young Kim; given that Kim is a given name and they are so into technology.

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