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Building a wider learning community in higher education through the PeopleWiki approach

Abstract : University is not a self-sufficient world in which students learns skills that they will apply later. It is an element of a wider learning system with stakes well beyond the study years and a campus. In fact, a university is a complex organization not only based on the teacher/student relation but on industrial partnerships, alumni, students self-organization ... This wider community has to collectively manage a huge quantity of information and realize complex coordination between thousands of people. One of the main obstacles in this is its lack of self-awareness (matching offers and demands, knowing who works in which company) and of appropriate means of coordination. Thus, resources are hard to match with needs and cooperation between alumni and their alma mater university and within the university itself is very often found wanting. Fostering cooperation and partnership is even more important as concern over the economy permeates university business and graduates increasingly have trouble finding jobs

Starting from a study of the emergence of wiki communities on the internet, we describe and analyze the use of an academic wiki based on the concept of PeopleWiki [1] [2]. PeopleWiki is a specific type of wiki in which the core content of the wiki is about community members. Thus they are the main subject of the information produced, discussed and archived on the wiki.

In the first part of this paper, we start by exploring the concept of Community of Practice introduced by Lave & Wenger [3], as a process of social learning. We survey the typology of wikis as studied by Challborn & Reimann [4], Majchrzak et al. [5], Gaved et al. [6], Moshirnia [7]. Starting with some specific problems of wikis: participation [8], altruism and motivation to contribute [9] [10], we put an emphasis on information systems closely related to academic wikis: corporate wikis described by [5] and Learning Management System [11]. The use of wiki in learning [12] and the propagation of academic wiki implementation [13], its narrow ties with constructivism and collective learning [14] are discussed. We also point out the limits and failures of these experiments [7].

In the second part of this paper, this article will discuss our experience with CentraleWiki, the PeopleWiki which has been running for more than a year in our Grande Ecole in France. We review its degree of success and explain the choices made in different domains. The question of information reliability, core wiki content dealing with persons and observed use are tackled. As a conclusion we examine the effective use made of the wiki by the community and point to further developments.
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Contributor : Rémi Bachelet <>
Submitted on : Monday, December 1, 2008 - 5:59:20 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 2:18:22 PM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-00343514, version 1



Rémi Bachelet. Building a wider learning community in higher education through the PeopleWiki approach. 2008 International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, Nov 2008, Spain. p 01-02. ⟨halshs-00343514⟩



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