University of Leicester
BDRA WP 200701 Conceptualising + Researching Wikis at UoL ….pdf (84.6 kB)

Perspectives on the nature of communities and their needs - conceptualising and researching potential wiki use at UoL.

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posted on 2009-04-27, 14:38 authored by Roger Dence, Richard Mobbs
The potential of informal repositories, such as wikis, to support a diverse range of tasks in higher education is now well documented. However, in evolutionary terms, practical applications are still at an early stage of the innovation-diffusion process, even though wikis have been in existence for more than a decade. Much attention to date among higher education institutions has focused on the practical realisation of the technical possibilities and solutions, in what might be characterised as technology-based ‘push’ approaches. On the other hand, the nurturing and supporting of users and user communities is a vital task in encouraging user-based ‘pull’ approaches, to encourage the knowledge generation and construction that is a necesssary prerequisite for knowledge sharing and exchange through the use of such technologies. From both of these perspectives, a key organisational challenge has been how to develop both the capacity and the capability necessary to explore the potential of wiki-type technologies, and thus to realise the possibilities foreseen that range in scope across teaching, learning, research and administration needs and in scale from the individual to the institutional level. This Working Paper outlines some informal conceptualisations about the nature of communities that have assisted the development, deployment and embedding of wiki technology at the University of Leicester (UoL). It also provides summary points from initial research on user perceptions and potential barriers to introduction and use, and considers the needs and uses of different types of communities and how these might relate to the infrastructure provided.



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