Wiki Working

Using a wiki can be extremely rewarding. After all, where would we students be without Wikipedia? -- Probably lost in the library stacks, hunting down some elusive piece of information in a long-forgotten book. Wikis make the sharing of information easy.

Though they are easy to use, wikis can also be wik-edly confusing once you begin creating and editing them. The good news is, you can't do any harm (theoretically). The bad news is, not everything in Wikispaces is intuitive and there is bound to be a short, but steep, learning curve for some of you, tilting upwards into (theoretical) frustration.

As your wiki-host -- Steve -- I will try to make things easier for you as I can. Be aware, though, that Wikispaces is new to me as well and I've yet to meet a piece of technology that could read my mind or where I never needed to read the manual. We're in this together.

[Check out this useful video — a great intro to wiki-dom. Note the Hawaiian "shaka " hand-sign on the poster frame and in action at about 40 seconds into the video. Cool!]

- Wagenseller Wagenseller Sep 3, 2010

Some suggestions:
  • Think through your content and test (preview) your inclusions. Each chapter will be produced by a group and that means working out responsibilities together and coordinating your actions. I would recommend that you gather your materials individually and then, as a group, refine your inclusions before you launch the whole flotilla of your efforts into the wiki harbor. Otherwise, you might find members of the team working at cross-purposes on the same page. Changes are easy in a wiki -- perhaps too easy -- and you may wish to make things easier on yourselves by not having to make major changes in your chapters at the last minute.
  • Have some fun. Although working in a wiki as a group can be complex, part of learning technology is finding time to play around on the swing set. On Wikispaces, you can establish your own wikis to try out your ideas, insert multimedia links to see how they look and work, and develop some confidence in pushing your swings just a bit higher.
  • Get help. I'm available to help as I can, given time zones and synchronicity. Of course, if I don't know the answer, I'll be looking it up in the help index on Wikispaces. As Robert Frost wrote in his poem, "The Pasture", you come too . You might try hitting that reference first, just in case it's a simple fix.
  • Double-teaming? What happens if two teammates are editing their page at the same time? The answer was in the help pages.
  • Preview. Try the Preview button during your edit to see if things are looking like you'd like them to look. Doing that might save you some time.
  • Contact me, as needed. It would help to put "CEP818" into the subject line so that I can zero in on the email.

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