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Wikis for group work: Encouraging transparency, benchmarking and feedback
International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) (2015)
  • Amir Abdekhodaee, Swinburne University of Technology - Australia
  • Dini Kourosh, Swinburne University of Technology - Australia
  • Farnaz Modarres, Swinburne University of Technology - Australia
  • Dr Anne-Marie Chase, Swinburne University of Technology - Australia
  • Bella Ross, Swinburne University of Technology - Australia
Education delivery models and approaches are undergoing radical change. The traditional knowledge exchange model whereby an educator imparts knowledge to students may not be best placed to develop essential skills for the 21st century (Griffin, McGaw, & Care, 2012) and is being challenged by models that encourage knowledge creation by students. Using a wiki to facilitate group work may provide students opportunities for collaborative learning (Blumenfeld, Marx, Soloway, & Krajcik, 1996), knowledge sharing and construction (Elgort, Smith, & Toland, 2008), and skill development. Wikis allow individual contributions to be traceable thereby increasing individual accountability in group work situations. Wikis can furthermore be monitored continually by a teacher and peers to monitor progress by both groups and individuals. This can benefit feedback practices throughout the course of a project.
In this study, we report on our initial findings from a group wiki project in an Engineering Management unit at an Australian university. A wiki was introduced to the existing group report assessment to add transparency to group project management activities and report writing. There were 84 groups with approximately 3-4 students in each. Each group had their own wiki which could be viewed by the entire cohort. Students were required to provide three separate sets of feedback to another group’s wiki during the semester. We report on the findings from student surveys and focus groups.
Almost three quarters of students found the wikis helpful for benchmarking their activity against their peers. The wiki enabled transparency provided an opportunity for students to benchmark their performance in various ways, offering a comparison for quality of work and the rate of progress. This comparison also offered students a standard against which they could attempt to improve their performance. Over half of the students stated that peer feedback had improved their work; however, a lot of the feedback given by peers was too brief to be constructive, and provided too late to be useful in guiding their work. Many students described the wiki project as a delegation of tasks and overall did not think that the wiki had impacted on group collaboration. These findings are consistent with earlier literature (Cole, 2009; Elgort et al., 2008; Witney & Smallbone, 2011).
This project is in its second iteration and the project leader plans to continue refining the use of wikis in future units. In particular, future iterations aim to improve the quality and timing of feedback as well as increase student collaboration.
  • Wikis,
  • Delivery models,
  • Students,
  • Learning,
  • Skills,
  • Group work,
  • Transparency
Publication Date
Citation Information
Amir Abdekhodaee, Dini Kourosh, Farnaz Modarres, Anne-Marie Chase, et al.. "Wikis for group work: Encouraging transparency, benchmarking and feedback" International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) (2015)
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