Using Crowdsourced Wikis to Teach an Online Undergraduate Course

John R Fisher, Steve Allred


This study examined emergency service student use of wiki in an assignment to develop guidelines for preparing crisis communication plans in an online class. As a form of course evaluation, students were asked to respond to five questions about their experience in using wiki.

Conclusions were drawn about the practicality of using wiki in teaching online. Students affirmed that collaboration leads to learning and knowledge acquisition. By engaging in collaboration, learners observe and improve upon weaknesses or gaps in learning. Students learn from each other by examining and improving the work of others. Students also viewed that using wikis to develop documents is a valuable skill to take into the workplace.

A number of barriers exist that make using wiki in online teaching more challenging. It is more difficult to monitor and correct student actions online than in a face-to-face classroom. Most students hesitate to edit and change other student writing and so incentives need to be used to get students to edit each other’s work. Students should receive an orientation where they learn the purpose and benefits of wikis and receive instruction on how to use wikis.  

The study confirms much of the research on the topic of using wikis as a learning strategy. Also, the study shows that process is as important to learning as is outcome. Learning to use wiki is as important as producing a final document.


collaboration, crisis communications, learning strategies, online learning, wikis

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