WikiSchool Basic Course

WikiSchool (Brainstorm)

This page will eventually list various “concepts” of how to teach wiki-usage to newbies. For every concept, please indicate what you’re trying to achieve in the introduction.

Wiki as Content Management for Groups

We will not focus on wiki history, wiki markup, and wiki features such as history links, nor will it try to encourage people to write. Instead, we’ll try to teach how to write well eventhough we are on a wiki. We will explore various writing styles. And we’ll look at the basics of SoftSecurity, in order to give newcomers some basic (mental) tools to tackle typical problems.

Each session is based on a lecture and exercises. We will focus on the execises and how the result will be assessed. This will give is some no-fuss ideas on what is essential in the preceding lecture; it will allow us to focus.

Exercises will require a wiki for the course.

Introduction to wiki

Short introduction, setup of homepage, some edits.

Lecture: Wiki is an editable website. We will use it to communicate in our team. We will look at a simple implementation, take a look at how to edit a page, the markup used to type text (paragraphs, headings, emphasis, bullet list, links to other pages), version history, recent changes. On recent changes, our username is linked to our homepage on the wiki. Talk about edit conflict handling when saving changes. Demonstrate the exercise using the speaker as an example.

Exercise: Visit the wiki. On the main page you will find a list of participants. Edit the page, add a link to a page with your username (your homepage). Set your username, save. Go to your homepage, and add a few words about yourself. Form teams of three to four students each. Link to the homepages of your team members.

Evaluation: Was it quick? Were edit conflicts handled?

Editing basics using wiki markup

Writing for the web applies to wikis as well.

Lecture: Wikis are websites. Websites are visited by people with little time. They are usually looking for some particular piece of information. Wikis have to be useful, just like websites. To be useful, use clear navigation, use inverted-pyramid style (start with conclusion, elaborate for the people interested), use highlighting to enable people to skim faster, link related information.

Exercise: Choose a project of your liking, where you can envision yourself using some sort of software to communicate with your team. As a team, write about your project.

Evaluation: Wiki process: Was the topic split into pages, so that everybody could work on his own page, or was the team sitting at one screen, paper writing together? Discuss this: Distributed teams require working alone; edit conflicts are hard to deal with in the early stages of an idea; working together offers a very fast feedback loop. Writing: Is it readable? Are subheadings used to break the page into sections? Are pages of an appropriate size? Written like an inverted pyramid, conclusions at the top, longer explanations below? (JakobNielsen) Highlighting of key points? Short introduction and conclusion? Is the argument well-made? Is the information presented on the page useful for others? Can it be found? Discuss. If the information is not userful for others, why put it on the web? Discuss different requirements for public websites and simple groupware.

Using Hypertext

Editing hypertext using linked pages. Explain a complex subject using three to five pages. Are the links useful? Are related ideas on the same page? Is the splitting into various pages necessary? Does it improve the text? Are the points from the previous lecture taken into account?

Reworking Text

Rewriting on a wiki. Wiki offers the unique possibility to rework documents. Rewrite badly written pages provided as examples. Integrate them into your wiki. How was writing markup, language style, linking patterns, references to missing text handled? Are the points from the previous lecture taken into account?


Use the wiki for an unrelated team project. Have the team members used the wiki at all? Is it a thread mess or are important points reworked as documents? How good can the wiki be used as introduction to new team members? How good can the wiki be used for problem solving while working on the project? Are the points from previous lectures taken into account?

Soft Security

Dealing with vandalism on a wiki. What kind of reactions were suggested? Discuss benefits and drawbacks of SoftSecurity. Assess the suggstions based on this discussion.


Thanks Alex. Be sure I will translate your work (to be dropped on WikiSchoolFr). We have a WikiSchool session in Paris planned [CraoWiki:FichePĂ©dagogiqueInitiationWiki?] next Tuesday. I will be happy to test this very nice framework before discussion :)

Hey- this is cool!

I’d add something on TopicsAndCategories?, or just wiki badges in general. Types of wiki- DegreesOfEditorialControl; Protocol differences on ScratchWiki (AccidentalLinking encouraged,OffTopic okay,deletes and major changes common,…) and CommunalWiki (use the FrontLawn, Wiki:NoKeening,…)

We should get that guy working on the “Science of Wiki” book over here.


Define external redirect: TopicsAndCategories FichePĂ©dagogiqueInitiationWiki

EditNearLinks: JakobNielsen AccidentalLinking FrontLawn