Building Up to Collaboration: Evidence on Using Wikis to Scaffold Academic Writing

Susan M. Stetson-Tiligadas




Use of a wiki tool as a space for collaborative writing may be an effective way to expand the practice of academic writing, where working in groups to produce a collective text is a common occurrence in higher education. Evidence suggests wikis to be flexible tools which may improve collaboration and provide students with new skills. However, some research has shown that collaboration in wikis may be superficial and that their use may lead to increased workload for students and instructors. Because a great deal of academic writing is accomplished in groups, helping students build their collaborative writing skills is an important academic writing endeavor. This article provides evidence revealing both the potential of wikis to foster collaborative writing and important factors to consider before incorporating a wiki into an academic writing course. Scaffolding tasks to build up to cooperative group writing and introducing new ideas regarding text ownership can make wikis an effective space to practice academic writing. Weighing the evidence provided in this article may help instructors determine whether incorporating a wiki in their own context could constitute an additional space for students to develop their academic writing skills.



Academic Writing; Collaboration; Wikis; Scaffolding

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