It’s taken me a while, but I’ve really come around to wikis. Of course, it’s really important to help students understand the limitations (as well as power) in Wikipedia. But when we focus on that, we sometimes lose sight of the usefulness of wikis as social software. In specific contexts, with specific audiences/editors, wikis can be extremely useful.
In my LIS 688 Library Instruction class, we’ve recently talked about tutorials. While I was checking several out, I realized that a wiki could fit the bill (and more quickly, easily, collaboratively, and cheaply) that many tutorials fill. With really close attention to wayfinding within the wiki, “chapters” could be pages, with links to other pages when more detail is needed. This could correlate with an information literacy course, and could be integrated into any course management software the institution might use. Potentially, using a wiki in this way could make the tutorial something more than a tutorial, but also a reference guide that could have information dealing with all kinds of aspects of information seeking behavior. There could be pages dealing with traditional library research, pages for databases, pages for internet research, and pages for useful social information sources. I think it could be great!
It’d still be useful to have interactive online activities, too. Perhaps links to such activities could be included in the pages dealing with such topics? What do you think of wikis as a type of tutorial?