Collaborative learning in a wiki environment: experiences from a software engineering course

Minocha, Shailey and Thomas, Peter G. (2007). Collaborative learning in a wiki environment: experiences from a software engineering course. New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, 13(2) pp. 187–209.



The post-graduate course, Software Requirements for Business Systems, in the Department of Computing of the Open University involves teaching systematic elicitation and documentation of requirements for software systems. On a software development project, team members often work remotely from one another and increasingly use wikis to collaboratively develop the requirements specification. In order to emulate requirements engineering practice, the course has been enhanced to include group collaboration using a wiki. In this paper, we describe the wiki-based collaborative activities and the evaluation of the pedagogical effectiveness of a wiki for collaborative learning. Our evaluations have confirmed that the strength of a wiki, as a collaborative authoring tool, can facilitate the learning of course concepts and students' appreciation of the distributed nature of the RE process context. However, there is a need to support the discussion aspects of collaborative activities with more appropriate tools. We have also found that there are certain usability aspects of wikis that can mar a positive student experience. This paper will be of interest to academics aspiring to employ wikis on their courses and to practitioners who wish to realize the potential of wikis in facilitating information sharing, knowledge management, and in fostering collaboration within and between organizations. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

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