01. The Wiley Wiki - Course Content

The Wiley Wiki pioneered the idea of open online content that can be edited by course participants. Like a wiki, like Wikipedia, like this page! The MOOC begins with the idea that participants can add to and change the learning content.

What Can You Write Collaboratively?

Michael Angeles offers numerous suggestions to help you get started in Using a Wiki for Documentation  and Collaborative Authoring. Start by posting commonly referenced information such as:
  • Organizational information -- our mission statement, marketing materials, links to group calendars
  • Communications information - past formal communications to staff, links to email list archives
  • Common files -- licensed software we use, forms and templates
  • Logistical information -- network printer IP addresses
  • Group documentation -- tutorials, process documentation
Then expand the collaborative authoring content with meeting notes, product specifications, product requirements documentation, project deliverables, e.g. wireframes, content audits, etc., technical documentation and style guides.

Sites and services for shared authoring

- Google Docs - http://docs.google.com - here is a Google Doc version of a MOOC book
- Google Sites - http://sites.google.com
- WikiSpaces - http://www.wikispaces.com/
- Squidoo - http://www.squidoo.com/squidoo - "S
quidoo is the popular publishing platform and community that makes it easy for you to create "lenses" online. Lenses are pages, kind of like flyers or signposts or overview articles, that gather everything you know about your topic of interest--and snap it all into focus."

Central or Hosted Discussion Platforms

- Google Groups - http://groups.google.com/
- Moodle

Tips for Setting Up Shared Content

- Create a basic structure that people can work from
- Ask for contributions via your social network and from course participants

Tips from Michael Angeles:
  • Train your users -- Hold informal training sessions at the beginning of your project and make yourself available to help users on an ongoing basis
  • Keep it organized -- Invest time in creating and maintaining category pages, and when you see uncategorized pages, talk to the author about putting them in a category
  • Understand use -- Watch the recent changes page to understand how people are using the Wiki
  • Lead by example - Use the wiki in all of your project work and to document commonly used staff resources, processes and procedures
  • Protect -- Public Wikis may be open to edit-spam, so protect yours and back it up often
  • Style guides

History of Shared Authoring

Wikipedia defines collaborative writing as "projects where written works are created by multiple people together (collaboratively) rather than individually. Some projects are overseen by an editor or editorial team, but many grow without any oversight."

Here is a list of numerous collaborative authoring sites and services from the 1980s to today. http://users.soe.ucsc.edu/~ejw/collab/ As you can see from this guide, there is a rich tradition of collaborative authoring online, and the course wiki format is only the latest implementation of that idea in education.