What is the story of Mediawiki

Do you already know ... the MediaWiki?

You know Wikipedia, don't you? Wikipedia is based on MediaWiki - freely available software for operating a wiki. We also host this software at the FernUniversität. One of our better-known wikis is the Helpdesk-Wiki, in which we put together extensive help on tools and services of the ZMI for our employees and students. As a lecturer, you can also apply for a MediaWiki from us and use it as part of your teaching. In the following we explain how a wiki can be used and which steps are required so that you can use it.

Gather and share information

In the winter semesters 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, the so-called Wikiade took place at the FernUniversität, a project initiated by the “Social Software” research team. The aim was the joint preparation of the FernUni study materials. Students were asked to filter out central technical terms and to describe them in the wiki in their own words in order to repeat and deepen essential learning content. Fellow students were able to read, add to and, if necessary, correct these descriptions. The result is a common information base that future students can also access.

The Institute for History and Biography also relied on this tool some time ago and, in several successive online seminars, set up a wiki on recent German history together with the students. The advantage compared to the Moodle Wiki is that the content that has been developed once can be made publicly available and can also be used by students in the following semesters. “All in all, the students perceived the work on the Media-Wiki as very positive and constructive, especially because the given wiki structure resulted in new perspectives for the respective seminar topics, group work developed and thus a welcome change in the seminar represented. ”, says Eva Engelhardt, employee at the Institute for History and Biography. In addition to the individual deepening of the learning content, writing an article also makes sense of documenting and sharing information that has been developed, which can provide additional motivation. Nevertheless, Prof. Arthur Schlegelmilch's team does not recommend the use of a wiki unreservedly. Over time, some contributions have remained incomplete. The idea that the students correct themselves only worked to a limited extent. Depending on the quality requirements, the use of a wiki is therefore quite maintenance-intensive and it is advisable to take this into account in the conception.

The way to your own wiki

Ultimately, the way to your own wiki is very easy: All you need to do is send an email to the webmaster in which you send him * her some information that he * she needs to set up. You can find out which information is actually involved on the FernUniWiki project website.

You can then get started right away. The text is written in a simple editor, which already provides you with some common formatting aids. Additionally, a look at MediaWiki's official formatting guide can be useful. On this page, further wiki markups, which you can use to highlight etc., are clearly explained.

MediaWiki in your teaching?
What is your opinion? What experiences have you already had with the use of a MediaWiki in teaching? Or in what form can you imagine an assignment? What ideas did you come up with? Let us know your thoughts or speak to us if you have any questions about the deployment.