Using Wikis in Moodle

When people hear the term ‘Wiki’, the first thing that often springs to mind is Wikipedia; a hotly contested issue in academia.  Whether or not Wikipedia holds any academic authority is beside the point; it is the tool that underpins Wikipedia that is of interest.  Wikipedia is one of many thousands of websites on the Internet using a Wiki to host content.  A Wiki can broadly be defined as a piece of web-based software that enables users to create and edit web pages within an Internet browser. A key aspect of a Wiki is the ability for any user to create or edit content.  By not restricting content creation and editing to a limited set of users, Wikis offer great potential for collaboration and the sharing of information.

Wikis, like other Web 2.0 technologies, offer possibilities for asynchronous content dissemination outside of the lecture theatre or seminar room. Since Wikis tend not to have one single author, the content generated within a Wiki is in collaboration with others, through negotiation and refinement.  Wikis require no coding skills, can be edited instantaneously and can be used to draw together multiple information sources (through linking and embedding).  To that end, Wikis can be a powerful tool for collaborative work.

Moodle features its own Wiki editor so that Wikis can be created and used within a Moodle module.  Moodle Wikis work like any other resource or activity in Moodle in that they can be duplicated, hidden, rolled-over and controlled by group access.  To add a Wiki to your Moodle module, turn editing on and then choose Wiki from the add an activity or resource menu.


There a number of settings that can be used to configure how the Wiki will operate, including how users are able to interact with the Wiki (i.e. a single Wiki for the whole module, a Wiki per group, or individual Wikis per student).  The settings you choose depend on how you expect your students to interact with the Wiki.  You can control the dates and times that students are able to edit the Wiki(s).

Importantly, from the teacher’s perspective, it is also possible see which students have contributed to the Wiki (and in what measure).


Wikis can be used to support group work and to encourage collaboration between students.  For instance, students could be assigned to particular groups and then asked to author a Wiki based on a given topic or issue.  The students will only be able to edit their own group’s Wiki, but will be able to view all of the Wikis in the module.  This is a practice that has been adopted in the School of Computing in which student groups are required to author a Wiki as part of the module.  The Wikis are rolled-over year-on-year, re-allocated and then updated by the next year’s cohort of students.  Moodle Wikis could also be used to create collaborative annotated bibliographies in which students add summaries and comments about modules-related materials and resources.

If you want to know more about using Wikis as part of your Moodle modules, please contact your Faculty Learning Technologist.

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