Thursday, November 22, 2007

R685 Week 13 Reflection

Week 13, Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing

This was an interesting week because Dr. Bonk came at us live from Maryland. I knew the concept of video conferencing but have never participated. You know what? It worked, it worked well and I was very impressed with both the video and audio quality. I also was impressed with the way he could pick up everyone in the room. Some people were no where near the microphone but Dr. Bonk could hear everyone. This is a more promising concept than I had realized. He then presented “Podcast, Wikis, and Blogs, Oh My” giving an entertaining and candid representation of what these mediums are and how they can assist education, in a scarecrow outfit. He had a screenshot from each of our blogs which really brought home how much additional content we are putting on the web as a collective. Podcasting was discussed at length but the main point was Dr. Bonk’s opinion on whether it is a web 2.0 technology. In his opinion it is not, it could be in the future but right now it is just a way to deliver content, I agree. Wikis are the main topic for this week. The following is the summary of the readings.

Bryant, Forte, and Bruckman, was the main article I analyzed this week. It was very interesting study on how wiki participants turn from novice to “Wikipedians.” They opened the article with what Wikipedia is and how it is almost identical to other encyclopedia websites that do not use a collaborative means of adding content. They used the concept of legitimate peripheral participation to describe how novices build a community and the building of a community of practice (CoP). What I found most interesting is the CoP principle is not just what one’s memberships in but everything, including ones neighborhood, friends, etc. Vygotsky’s Activity Theory was used in organizing the data. Nine participants were involved and the most significant find was that novices are end-users or minor editors on one site while Wikipedians see Wikipedia as a whole and are concerned with the accuracy and legitimacy of the entire site and the community it fosters.

Viegas, Wattenberg and Dave also looked at Wikipedia and how this community of openness can be viable with everyone and anyone editing. They analyzed the history flows of pages and created visualizations of these histories. Through these visualizations they were able to identify who changed the site, how long the site is or was, and show patterns. A good example was the site on chocolate, the visualization showed a zigzag pattern indicating an editing war. This type of information is interesting showing how each site comes to be, including the quarrels.

The final article for this week is Sanjjapanroj, Bonk, Lee, and Lin focused on Wikibooks. In this study they looked at novices and Wkkibookians. The novices were students from Indiana and Texas and the others were identified contributors to Wikibooks. The biggest find, in my opinion, was the demographics; 97% were male, 57% 25 or younger and 50% had not graduated from a 4 yr institution. In addition, the novice’s motivation was mostly to publish while the experts were to knowledge share.

The tidbits were brief articles for Campus technology. MIT launched “The Center of Wiki Intelligence” looking at how collaboration works in wiki sites. In line with this MIT and Wharton are collaborating a Wikibook titled, “We are Smarter than Me” where thousands are called upon to produce a Wikibook. Finally, Stanford opened its own Wiki site that is specific to Stanford.

Bryant, S. L., Forte, A., & Bruckman, A. (2005). Becoming Wikipedian: Transformation of participation in a collaborative online encyclopedia. In M. Pendergast, K. Schmidt, G. Mark, and M. Acherman (Eds.); Proceedings of the 2005 International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work, GROUP 2005, Sanibel Island, FL, November 6-9, pp. 1-10. Retrieved February 7, 2007, from

ViƩgas, F. B., Wattenberg, M., & Dave, K. (2004). Studying cooperation and conflict between authors with history flow visualizations. In E. Dykstra-Erickson & M. Tscheligi (Eds.), Proceedings from ACM CHI 2004 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 575-582). Vienna, Austria. Retrieved February 3, 2007, from

Sajjapanroj, S., Bonk, C. J., Lee, M., & Lin, M.-F. G. (2007, April). The challenges and successes of Wikibookian experts and Wikibook novices: Classroom and community perspectives. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. See


a. Campus Technology (2006a, October 10). News Update: MIT launches center for Collective (Wiki) intelligence. Campus Technology. Retrieved February 2, 2007, from
b. Campus Technology (2006b, October 10). News Update: Stanford debuts Wiki of all things Stanford. Campus Technology. Retrieved February 2, 2007, from Campus Technology (2007, January 30). News Update: MIT, Wharton to publish collaborative textbook by Wiki. Campus Technology. Retrieved February 2, 2007, from

1 comment:

Yichun's BLOG in IST, IUB said...

I agree with the statement you pointed out that CoP principle is everything at the third paragraph. In my opinion, most principle, or say theory (or even paradigm) is everything when it is socio-culture orientated. It concludes so many factors that might give people a kind of feeling, which is that concluding everything means nothing at the same time. Social science has this kind of nature and it is really hard to escape this trap especially these applied researches (i.e. Instructional/ Educational technology researches, applied economics) in social science. Besides, I savor your biggest finding in the final article with relish. What do you think about the reason such a high percentage, 50% Wikibookians have not graduated from a 4 yr institution? I am thinking maybe it is because people who have not graduated want and need to prove themselves in some ways.