wikiyork: Academic Social Networking via a Wiki

I spent two days earlier this week participating in the TEL(Technology Enhanced Learning)@York 2007 event.

This year, the conference theme was “Partnerships to Enhance Student Engagement“.

Arguably, Rene Suarez’ wikiyork contribution was the most-provocative demonstration of a partnership to enhance student engagement.

wikiyork is:

  • a place to share notes, reading summaries, exam reviews, tests, assignments, opinions, etc…
  • open-source, editable by anyone, viewable by anyone
  • student-controlled (not really…everyone has equal control; everyone is a student and a teacher)
  • free (non-profit and ad-free)

In discussing wikiyork as an enabling platform for peer collaboration in an undergraduate academic setting, one of the concerns raised was the unearned benefit of such ventures to social loafers. In addressing this concern, it may benefit the wikiyork team to reflect upon the basic elements of cooperative teams:

  • Positive interdependence
  • Individual accountability
  • Face-to-face promotive interaction
  • Interpersonal and small group skills
  • Group processing

By recontextualizing these elements for wikiyork, it may be possible to (over time) turn social loafers into social contributors.

I’m not sure if wikiyork is the first of its kind. Regardless, I applaud the efforts of Rene Suarez and his collaborators, as I believe they’re on to something potentially compelling with wikiyork.

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