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WikiSym 2007

Proceedings (ordered by author, in alphabetical order)

A. Bruns & S. Humphreys. Building Collaborative Capacities in Learners: The M/Cyclopedia Project, Revisited.

Abstract: In this paper we trace the evolution of a project using a wiki-based learning environment in a tertiary education setting. The project has the pedagogical goal of building learners’ capacities to work effectively in the networked, collaborative, creative environments of the knowledge economy. The paper explores the four key characteristics of a ‘produsage’ environment and identifies four strategic capacities that need to be developed in learners to be effective ‘produsers’ (user/producers). A case study is presented of our experiences with the subject New Media Technologies, run at Queensland University of Technology. This progress report updates our observations made at the 2005 WikiSym conference.

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M. Cubric. Wiki-based Framework for Blended Learning.

Abstract: With few exceptions, currently published research on the educational use of wikis does not include how the learning activities should be “shaped, planned or enforced” in a wiki. In this paper we aim to fill that gap by providing a framework for learning and teaching processes supported by the use of wikis. An instance of that process framework ("feedback-driven" process) was formulated and implemented through a series of trials performed at University of Hertfordshire Business School during the course of the last two academic years to 2006/7. The results of the trial have been collected and analyzed using the quantitative and qualitative methods and have led to the conclusion that students’ engagement with wiki-based learning activities is directly proportional to the quality and frequency of tutor’s feedback and the clarity of the underlying learning and teaching process.

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U. Dekel. A Framework for Studying the Use of Wikis in Knowledge Work Using Client-Side Access Data.

Abstract: While measurements of wiki usage typically focus on the active contribution of content, information on the passive use of existing content can be valuable for a range of commercial and research purposes. In particular, such data is necessary for reconstructing the context or tracing the flow of information in settings where wikis are used as collaboration platforms in knowledge work that relies on specialized tools, such as software development.

Meeting these needs requires detailed knowledge of user behavior, such as the duration for which a page was read and the sections visible at each point. This data cannot be collected by present wiki implementations and must be collected from the client-side, which presents a range of technical and privacy problems. In addition, this data must be correlated with traces of interaction with other tools.

In this paper we present an approach for solving these problems in which scripts embedded by the wiki server are executed by the client browser, and report on the user’s interaction with that document along with relevant structural information. These reports are relayed to a comprehensive framework for storing and accessing interaction and context data from the wiki and from additional tools used in knowledge work. This framework can be used to correlate these traces to obtain a complete view of the user’s work across tools, or to approximate his context at specific points in time.

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A. Forte & A. Bruckman. Constructing Text: Wiki as a Toolkit for Learning.

Abstract: Writing a book from which others can learn is itself a powerful learning experience. Based on this proposition, we have launched Science Online, a wiki to support learning in high school science classrooms through the collaborative production of an online science resource. Our approach to designing educational uses of technology is based on an approach to education called constructionism, which advocates learning by working on personally meaningful projects. Our research examines the ways that constructionism connects to collective models of knowledge production and learning such as Knowledge Building. In this paper, we explore ways that collaboration using wiki tools fits into the constructionist approach, we examine learning goals for youth growing up in a readwrite culture, and we discuss preliminary findings in an ongoing year-long study of Science Online in the classroom. Despite the radically open collaboration afforded by wiki, we observe that many factors conspired to stymie collaborative writing on the site. We expected to find cultural barriers to wiki adoption in schools. Unexpectedly, we are also finding that the design of the wiki tool itself contributed barriers to collaborative writing in the classroom.

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R. Fountain. Conceptual Enhancement Via Textual Plurality: A Pedagogical Wiki Bow Towards Collaborative Structuration.

Abstract: In this paper I present how I use wikis in my undergraduate courses to try to enhance conceptual comprehension. This WikiConcept research is housed within a theoretical perspective entitled “Communal Constructivism” (CC). According to CC, students construct learning “for” as well as “with” others, ideally leaving their imprint in the development of the course, their school or university, and ideally the discipline. As I argued previously (Fountain, 2005), “The goal of such “cocurricularization” is to influence the quality of ALL work, not just one’s own. Quality is to be influenced OVER TIME (long term sustainability of knowledge-Ciffolilli, 2003 & Schwartz, 2004), ACROSS collectivities (across students, over classes, over years, over generations-Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1994), VIA opennatured projects and TOWARDS creating “impossible public goods” (Ciffolilli, 2003).” While the development and implementation of this conceptual enhancement project across time and collectivities has taken place over several years, the evaluation of these peer-to-peer conceptualizations has just begun (winter, 2007). This paper reports on students (n = 85) reported conceptual comprehension when asked to read and evaluate three differing co-elaborated texts (wiki texts produced by their peers in previous sessions of the same course in technology) regarding the concept of “Cookie”. The same “Cookie” text did not “work” (enable greater comprehension) for all students. Many students appreciated a given text for the same reasons (both in terms of form and content) that many others did not. Again, while these results are preliminary, it appears that conceptual comprehension may be enhanced by systematic inclusion of and instance upon engagement with multiple, (and in this case) textual representations of a given concept. Such an insistence upon “a textual plurality around the same, the ‘always already’”, is seen as a pedagogical wiki bow towards enacting collaborative structuration research and practice.

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D. Frankowski et al. Recommenders Everywhere: The WikiLens Community-Maintained.

Abstract: Suppose you have a passion for items of a certain type, and you wish to start a recommender system around those items. You want a system like Amazon or Epinions, but for cookie recipes, local theater, or microbrew beer. How can you set up your recommender system without assembling complicated algorithms, large software infrastructure, a large community of contributors, or even a full catalog of items? WikiLens is open source software that enables anyone, anywhere to start a community-maintained recommender around any type of item. We introduce five principles for community-maintained recommenders that address the two key issues: (1) community contribution of items and associated information; and (2) finding items of interest. Since all recommender communities start small, we look at feasibility and utility in the small world, one with few users, few items, few ratings. We describe the features of WikiLens, which are based on our principles, and give lessons learned from two years of experience running http://www.wikilens.org

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S. Guth. Wikis in Education: Is Public Better?

Abstract: Wikis are being used in educational settings more and more but they are often installed within existing institutional Learning Management Systems (LMS) and as such are private, i.e. readable and editable only with a password, or semi-public, i.e. readable but not editable without a password. What differentiates the use of social software tools such as wikis in the classroom from other traditional computer mediated communication (CMC) tools is that they enable communication between people and knowledge sharing beyond the limits of the classroom and classroom activities. This paper investigates whether or not closing a wiki limits the very potential the tool has in education. Based on a brief review of the literature on wikis in education, the first section discusses how the benefits of wikis might be greater when they are public. This is followed by a description of two courses carried out at the University of Padua, one using a semi-public wiki and the other a public wiki. The same groups of students contributed to both wikis over two semesters and conclusions on the advantages and disadvantages of using a public wiki are drawn from a qualitative analysis of the data gathered. The preliminary findings are then used to suggest that a compromise between public and private wikis in education might provide the ideal learning environment.

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J. C. Morris & C. Ler. DistriWiki: A Distributed Peer-to-Peer Wiki.

Abstract: In this paper, we present DistriWiki, a peer-to-peer wiki. Motivated by the fact that the client-server architecture of the Web has limitations caused by the centralized nature of Web servers, we designed DistriWiki as a more open, more distributed alternative. In DistriWiki, each user’s computer acts as a peer that stores redundant copies of wiki pages; in this way, we can reduce bandwidth and hardware costs, reduce the number of failures due to hardware and configuration errors, and avoid centralized organizational control of the wiki pages.

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J. F. Ortega & J. G. Gonzalez-Barahona. Quantitative Analysis of the Wikipedia Community of Users.

Abstract: Many activities of editors in Wikipedia can be traced using its database dumps, which register detailed information about every single change to every article. Several researchers have used this information to gain knowledge about the production process of articles, and about activity patterns of authors. In this analysis, we have focused on one of those previous works, by Kittur et al. First, we have followed the same methodology with more recent and comprehensive data. Then, we have extended this methodology to precisely identify which fraction of authors are producing most of the changes in Wikipedia’s articles, and how the behaviour of these authors evolves over time. This enabled us not only to validate some of the previous results, but also to find new interesting evidences. We have found that the analysis of sysops is not a good method for estimating different levels of contributions, since it is dependent on the policy for electing them (which changes over time and for each language).Moreover,we have found new activity patterns classifying authors by their contributions during specific periods of time, instead of using their total number of contributions over the whole life of Wikipedia. Finally, we present a tool that automates this extended methodology, implementing a quick and complete quantitative analysis of every language edition in Wikipedia.

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X. de Pedro. New method using Wikis and forums to assess individual contributions.

Abstract: This paper shows a new method for using Wikis, forums, and other web-based productivity tools in blended learning strategies to promote the acquisition of competences in Higher education while enhancing experiential learning of students in social collaborative knowledge building scenarios. This methodology also facilitated the grading of student individual contributions in cooperative work, helping to detect any shortcomings that may prevent student active involvement in their learning process, allowing to conduct not only product evaluation but also process evaluation. Based upon previous successful experiences, the free, on-line software platform, TikiWiki CMS/Groupware, was selected to achieve this methodology. Students had to think about “What's the 'type of contribution' that I'm going to make right now?” before submitting new contributions in forums, comments, or document editions (either text or spreadsheet based). Each student's contribution type and size (in bytes) was stored in a log on the website, and could be queried, filtered, and exported for further analyses. The method was tested on an Environmental Sciences course, and its strengths and weaknesses are discussed in the paper. The method description includes a suggested process to convert student contributions (type and size) into numerical grades. However, the main potential of this method is not just final assessment for student accreditation, but serving data for tutorships with students along the process of the learning activities, in order to detect and revert whatever handicaps that prevented some students improving their contributions to the group work or cooperative learning “in time” (much prior to assignment submission to teacher). This preliminary study resulted in a three-times greater time investment by teachers. Further data needs to be collected to better estimate the true costs of this new method.

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R. Priedhorsky, B. Jordan, & L. Terveen. How a Personalized Geowiki Can Help Bicyclists Share Information More Effectively.

Abstract: The bicycling community is focused around a real-world activity – navigating a bicycle – which requires planning within a complex and ever-changing space. While all the knowledge needed to find good routes exists, it is highly distributed. We show, using the results of surveys and interviews, that cyclists need a comprehensive, up-to-date, and personalized information resource.We introduce the personalized geowiki, a new type of wiki which meets these requirements, and we formalize the notion of geowiki. Finally, we state some general prerequisites for wiki contribution and show that they are met by cyclists.

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J. M. Reagle. Do As I Do: Authorial Leadership in Wikipedia.

Abstract: In seemingly egalitarian collaborative on-line communities, like Wikipedia, there is often a paradoxical, or perhaps merely playful, use of the title “Benevolent Dictator” for leaders. I explore discourse around the use of this title so as to address how leadership works in open content communities. I first review existing literature on “emergent leadership” and then relate excerpts from community discourse on how leadership is understood, performed, and discussed by Wikipedians. I conclude by integrating concepts from existing literature and my own findings into a theory of “authorial” leadership.

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J. Rick. AniAniWeb: A Wiki Approach to Personal Home Pages.

Abstract: This article reports on my dissertation research on personal home pages. It focuses on the design of AniAniWeb, a server-based system for authoring personal home pages. AniAniWeb builds on a wiki foundation to address many of the limitations of static technologies used to author personal home pages. This article motivates the technical hypotheses behind AniAniWeb and reflects on these hypotheses, based on a two year study of adopters using AniAniWeb in academia, a prominent vocational setting where personal home pages are important. In particular, I reflect on two broad categories: 1) the usefulness of wiki features (wiki authoring, wiki mark-up, and interaction / collaboration) to authoring personal home pages; 2) the other features (structure, designing looks, and access control) needed to make a wiki approach to personal home pages viable.

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C. Roth. Viable Wikis.

Abstract: Wikis are collaborative platforms enabling collective elaboration of knowledge, the most famous and possibly the most successful thereof being the Wikipedia. There are currently plenty of other active open-access wikis, with varying success: some recruit many users and achieve sustainability, while others strive to attract sufficient active contributors, irrespective of the topic of the wiki. We make an exploratory investigation of some factors likely to account for these various destinies (such as distinct policies, norms, user incentives, technical and structural features), examining the demographics of a portion of the wikisphere. We underline the intertwining of population and content dynamics and emphasize the existence of different periods of development of a wiki-based community, from bootstrapping by founders with a pre-established set of rules, to more stable regimes where constant enrollment and training of new users balances out the occasional departure of more advanced users.

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M. Sabel. Structuring Wiki Revision History.

Abstract: Revision history of a wiki page is traditionally maintained as a linear chronological sequence.We propose to represent revision history as a tree of versions. Every edge in the tree is given a weight, called adoption coefficient, indicating similarity between the two corresponding page versions. The same coefficients are used to build the tree. In the implementation described, adoption coefficients are derived from comparing texts of the versions, similarly to computing edit distance. The tree structure reflects actual evolution of page content, revealing reverts, vandalism, and edit wars, which is demonstrated on Wikipedia examples. The tree representation is useful for both human editors and automated algorithms, including trust and reputation schemes for wiki.

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C. Sauer, C. Smith, & T. Benz. WikiCreole: A Common Wiki Markup.

Abstract: In this paper, we describe the wiki markup language WikiCreole, how it was developed, and related work. Creole does not replace existing markup, but instead enables wiki users to transfer content seamlessly across wikis, and for novice users to contribute more easily. In proposing a subset of markup elements that is as non-controversial as possible, this markup has evolved from existing wiki markup, hence the name Creole: a stable language that originated from a non-trivial combination of two or more languages. For more information, visit the WikiCreole wiki at http://www.wikicreole.org/.

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D. M. Wilkinson & B. A. Huberman. Cooperation and Quality in Wikipedia.

Abstract: The rise of the Internet has enabled collaboration and cooperation on an unprecedentedly large scale. The online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which presently comprises 7.2 million articles created by 7.04 million distinct editors, provides a consummate example. We examined all 50 million edits made to the 1.5 million English-language Wikipedia articles and found that the high-quality articles are distinguished by a marked increase in number of edits, number of editors, and intensity of cooperative behavior, as compared to other articles of similar visibility and age. This is significant because in other domains, fruitful cooperation has proven to be difficult to sustain as the size of the collaboration increases. Furthermore, in spite of the vagaries of human behavior, we show thatWikipedia articles accrete edits according to a simple stochastic mechanism in which edits beget edits. Topics of high interest or relevance are thus naturally brought to the forefront of quality.

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R. Witte & T. Gitzinger. Connecting Wikis and Natural Language Processing Systems.

Abstract: We investigate the integration of Wiki systems with automated natural language processing (NLP) techniques. The vision is that of a “self-aware” Wiki system reading, understanding, transforming, and writing its own content, as well as supporting its users in information analysis and content development. We provide a number of practical application examples, including index generation, question answering, and automatic summarization, which demonstrate the practicability and usefulness of this idea. A system architecture providing the integration is presented, as well as first results from an initial implementation based on the GATE framework for NLP and the MediaWiki system.

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W. Xiao, C. Chi, M. Yang. On-line Collaborative Software Development via Wiki.

Abstract: Wiki is a collaborative authoring system for collective intelligence which is quickly gaining popularity in content publication. In software development communities, especially open source and global software development teams, wiki is already widely used for documentation and coordination purpose but not programming purpose. This paper presents a new programming approach based on wiki technology by which developers are able to experience “writing wiki page is wring source code”. Moreover, developers are able to compile, execute and debug programs in wiki pages too. A prototype of such on-line collaborative software development environment, Galaxy Wiki, is developed in this environment iteratively in order to prove the concept.

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