From forums to wikis: Perspectives on tools for collaboration

Karen Kear, John Woodthorpe, Sandy Robertson, Mike Hutchison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Web 2.0 communication tools have considerable promise for supporting collaborative learning. But there is a need for research examining learners' and teachers' experiences of the newer communication tools, such as wikis, in comparison withwell-established tools, such as discussion forums. This paper reports on an initiativewhere distance learners used an in-housewiki for online tutorialswhich had previously taken place via forums. The perspectives of
students and tutors on this experience were gathered via an online questionnaire to students and unstructured online feedback from tutors. Some students and tutors felt that thewikiwas better than a forumfor collaborating on
shared documents. However, at that stage in the wiki's development it was found to bemore difficult to use than a forum, and slower. Some tutors found the wiki to be too slow to use effectively. These findings highlight the
importance of good usability in collaborative software. The research also revealed that some students were uncomfortablewith the prospect of editing each others' work in thewiki. They had concerns related to ownership of
contributions. This finding relates to the concept of ‘sociability’ in relation to online communication. The research therefore identifies both usability and sociability as key requirements for Web 2.0 communication tools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218–225
Number of pages8
JournalInternet and Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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