Friday, July 31, 2009

Post workshop reflections: Using Wikis for communication

Yesterday I conducted a 1.5hr workshop for 17 participants, on "Using Wikis for Communications".

After the session, I told the course coordinator I didn't quite 'nail it down' this time round. I felt the participants weren't as engaged as I would like them to be.

My segment was part of a two-day Introduction to New Media Communications workshop organised by the Civil Service College.

By the end of my 1.5hrs, the aim was for participants to understand the general features of wikis, to be able to create a wiki (we used, edit pages, manage a wiki (including allowing others to edit; minimising the risk of vandalism).

Overall, I believe the main objectives were met. All participants were able to create a wiki, go through the experience of editing pages, learning how to restore versions. We also had a short discussion on what to consider when deciding if a blog or a wiki was more appropriate.

But I realised that while the basic course objectives were met, what most participants didn't quite grasp was what to do with wikis.

To put in another way: if this was a course on how to build a bicycle, the participants manage to build themselves one. But after that they weren't quite sure where to go with the bicycle.

Creating a wiki was simple (simpler than blogs). The beauty of it was that creating a user account was not mandatory for one to edit a wiki.

But next time round, I'll probably impose a tighter structure for group-work activities, so that participants get a better sense (and do so in a fun and engaged way) of how wikis can be used for work and personal. Examples:
  • Create a RSVP list
  • Write a collaborative story (could also assign roles, e.g. Editor, contributor, vandal!)
  • Create an instructional website (e.g. cooking recipes)
  • Collaborate on a draft proposal
  • A simulation of a site to build a corporate taxonomy
Set a time limit for each group to create the wiki, then present as a group.

If you've ever conducted similar workshops, what's your experience?

BTW, if you ever use as part of your demo/ wiki workshop, you can ask participants to play around at without them having to create user accounts.

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