Wikis

The Wiki tool is used by course members to create and modify one or more pages of course material. Usually the tool is used as a space for students to collaborate, however instructors may use a wiki as a means to create their own content. Wikis can be graded for individual or group work.

Description of use

A wiki can be used as an assessment tool with students starting from scratch each time you teach the course. Or if used as a knowledge base for a course topic, the wiki can either grow over time or be updated to reflect current trends or events. Individual wikis can be carried forward in your course from semester to semester. If you decide not to use a particular wiki during a new semester, you may simply make it unavailable.

Changing availability, editing and commenting statuses can be done easily from the Wikis tool page.

Examples of using wikis as course content or graded assignments

  • A glossary.
  • A white paper.
  • Class summaries and outlines.
  • Connecting student writing to form a book.
  • A resources repository.
  • Lab experiments.
  • Student solutions for scenarios and case studies.
  • A research notebook.
  • Group project presentations.

Best Practices

With the goal of engaging students, a wiki can be used to:

  • Provide an easy to use environment for communication.
  • Promote collaboration rather than competition.
  • Foster a social and interactive approach to learning.
  • Build partnerships where you can benefit from the strengths of others.
  • Increase network building, trust, and negotiation skills.
  • Provide support and prompt feedback.
  • Provide a one-stop area where information is searched, updated, and accessed easily and quickly.
  • Increase and enhance the possibility of creativity, spontaneity, and innovation through the application of reflective thinking.

How-to information

Blackboard's Wiki Instructions

To activate the tool to your course

  1. Go to Customization > Tool Availability.
  2. Scroll down to 'Wikis' and check the box in the 'Available' column. Click Submit.
  3. While still on the 'Tool Availability' page, scroll back down to 'Wikis'. There should now be two entries. Check the box for the second entry, under the 'Available in Content Area' column, and click Submit.

Both wiki boxes should now be checked, and the wiki will be available for use in your course (under Course Tools, as well as via the Tools button on a Content page).

To add the list of wikis or individual wiki to a content area (folder or learning module)

Add the list of course wikis to the Course menu using the plus (+) sign at the top of the Course Menu. Select Tool and you will see the Wiki option if you followed the steps to activate the tool above.

Add the list of course wikis or an individual wiki to a folder or learning module using the Tool button at the top of the page in the Edit On mode. You may provide a link to the listing of all course wikis or just an individual wiki.

Grading Wikis

You can grade an individual's wiki activity from three different places:

  • Enter the wiki and click Participation and Grading in the upper right. Click a user’s name to view their page work.
  • On the Needs Grading page, access a wiki’s contextual menu and select Grade All Users. Or click the individual's name.
  • In the Grade Center, locate the column for the wiki you want to grade and move the mouse pointer over a cell containing a needs grading icon—the exclamation mark—to access the contextual menu. Select Grade User Activity.

Group Wikis

From within your group (or group sets) settings, you may add access to a group wiki. Unlike the course wiki tool, within the group space, there is only one wiki. By default, all course members can read group wikis, but only members of the group can make a comment on their group wiki page. You can change the default setting to allow only group members to view a group wiki. Ccreate the group or group sets first, then edit each group to control whether the rest of the class can see that group's wiki pages.

Grading Group Wikis

  • You can grade group wikis, but after you enable grading for a group wiki, you cannot change that setting.
  • When a grade is added for a group wiki, the grade is automatically given to all the members of the group and is populated in the corresponding column in the Grade Center for each group member.
  • All members are assigned a grade, regardless if a member did not contribute.
  • You can edit an individual member's grade to assign a different grade than the group's.

Known Issues

See the Critical Issues page for known issues.