Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wikis and Friendship

Ferris, S. P., & Wilder, H. (2006, June/July). Uses and potentials of wikis in the classroom. Innovate Journal of Online Education, 2(5), Retrieved July 4, 2007, from http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=258

This article provides a general overview of wikis in education. The authors begin by discussing learning paradigms, such as secondary orality, which values "community, group-sense, and participation." They then move on to outline the various definitions associated with wikis, crediblity debates, and the ways in which wikis foster collaboration among teachers and students. While these issues and concerns are noted in numerous articles on wikis, the one statement made by the authors that attracted my attention was the following: "While a weblogs is most often based on a diary metaphor in which the weblog author is the primary author who posts on a regular (often daily) basis, a wiki is more like a friendship based on a specific interest."

Even though I think this is an interesting and unique metaphor, the term "friendship" is perhaps too strong of a word. The authors refer to stamp collectors who have no connection to each other with the exception of stamps. However, if the stamp collectors meet to discuss/trade etc. stamps, then there may be more to the relationship than people independently contributing to an entry on the
cyberpunk movement. To me, friendship is more than just people who share an interest in a particular topic - there has to be some type of communication or interaction. In this section of the article, the authors don't mention the interactions contributors may have on the discussion pages. If they had, it might be easier for me to buy into the friendship metaphor; but, based solely on the arguement made by the authors, they have not convinced me.

1 comment:

Chanitra said...

I can see your point. They don't really explain exactly what they mean by friendship or what they mean by updating the wiki. Updating the wiki could involve talking to others if you want to change an article. The article states "the only time you or your friend need to communicate (that is, update the wiki)..." Are they suggesting that editing a wiki is a form of communicating with another person?? Do they assume that people will communicate with each other when they update the wiki?

In the article Becoming Wikipedian, Wikipeadians are people that were actively involved in maintaining Wikipedia. Wikipedians were a part of the community and discussed articles and edits with other members of the community. Therefore, the Wikipedians could be considered "friends".