Wikis

Contents

Overview

A Wiki is a free-form repository of information that anyone can add to, edit, or change. In Blackboard, Wikis can be created for the whole class, or for groups, and can either be ungraded or graded. Instructors can also contribute to Wikis, or it can be left entirely up to students, once the initial Wiki topic is opened by an instructor.

The structure of Wikis in Blackboard is best explained with the help of an illustration:

Wiki Structure

Every course can have multiple Wiki topics. An instructor may have one Wiki for students to define key terms together in order to arrive at the best and most useful definitions, and have another, separate, Wiki for students to compile a list of local resources as they conduct field research. In each case, the course Instructor creates the Wiki Topic. Students cannot create course Wiki Topics.

Inside each Wiki Topic is a Home Page. While Instructors do not have to create the Home Page, it is recommended that they do so, in order to give students some guidance as to the structure and use of the Wiki Topic. The Wiki Home Page is the first thing that all users will see when they enter the Wiki Topic. It could be that for a particular topic, all work can be done within the home page (such as our example Wiki Topic 1, a list of terms and definitions–this may not necessitate any level deeper than a Home Page). In other cases, however, sub-pages may be necessary.

Any user can create a Sub-page, which is a level deeper than the Home Page. Instructors may want to set up the necessary Sub-pages ahead of time, or let students user their own discretion to create a new Sub-page any time one is needed. When users enter the Wiki, they will see the Home Page immediately, and then see a list of Sub-pages to the right. Click on any of those links to go to the various Sub-pages:

Wiki Sub-pages

As you can see, the Home Page is denoted by a house icon, and the Sub-pages are links underneath it. Sub-pages only go one level down, so you cannot create a Sub-page of a Sub-page.

For the purposes of this article, we will discuss creating Wiki Topics and Wiki Pages. The creation of the Home Page and the creation of Sub-pages follow the same steps. The first page created will automatically be the Home Page, and all pages created thereafter will be Sub-pages

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Creating a Wiki Topic

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section.
  2. Click Wikis to access the course wikis page.
    Course Management Menu
  3. On the Wikis listing page, click Create Wiki on the action bar.
  4. On the Create Wiki page, type a name for the wiki. Optionally, you may also add instructions.
  5. Set Wiki Availability to Yes.
  6. You have the option to select dates and times for the wiki to become available. Use the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable these availability limits. If you choose to use these limitations, make sure you have set the Wiki Availability to Yes (step 5). The availability limitation will remove student access to the wiki during the times you specify even if the Wiki Availability is set to Yes.
  7. Choose Wiki Participation options.
    1. Student Access: Select Closed to Editing when you are the only one contributing pages or to disallow further page editing by users when you are ready to start grading. Select All course members are still allowed to view wikis that are closed to editing. Select Open to Editing to allow users to modify any wiki page. In a group wiki, a user must be a member of the group to edit a wiki page. For more information on editing wiki pages, see Edit and Manage Wikis.
    2. Student Comment Access: Control whether or not students can comment on a wiki page with the Closed to Commenting and Open to Commenting options.
    3. If the wiki is a Group Wiki, you will also see Viewers options. Select Group Members Only if the wiki is to be viewed only by the group members and Instructors, Teaching Assistants and Graders. Select All Course Members to make the wiki viewable by all users. Users who are not a member of the group will not be able to edit the wiki, however.
  8. In the Wiki Settings section, make a grading selection. If you select Grade: Points Possible, type the total score that the wiki will be worth. After you enable grading, a column is created automatically in the Grade Center. It is permanently gradable, and you cannot change it back to No grading. For more information on your options for grading wikis, see View and Grade Wiki Participation.
  9. Click Submit.

Double-click the video to enlarge the viewing area.

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About the Wikis Listing Page

The wiki topics appear in alphabetical order on the Wikis listing page. You can sort columns by clicking the column title.

Wiki Listings Page

  1. Wiki Name: On the Wikis listing page, click the wiki title to access a wiki -OR- access a wiki’s contextual menu and click Open.
  2. Availability, Student Access, Student Comment: To change a wiki’s availability or student access, select one or more check boxes and use the Availability and Student Access drop-down lists on the action bar.
  3. Type: The type column lists whether a wiki is for the course or for a group.
  4. Edit Properties: Access a wiki’s contextual menu by placing your cursor over the Wiki Name and click Edit Properties to change a wiki’s name, instructions, and settings.

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Creating a Wiki Page

Each newly created course or group wiki topic requires a first page, which is the Home Page for that Wiki Topic. When you access a new Wiki Topic for the first time, a message appears at the top of the page prompting you to create a Home Page. The Home Page always appears first when users open a Wiki Topic, making it an ideal page for instructions.

You or any course or group member can create the Home Page. No one can delete the Home Page, but if the wiki is open to editing, any course or group member may edit it.

The Home Page and all subsequent Sub-pages are created in the same way.

  1. On the wiki’s topic page, click Create Wiki Page on the action bar on the top left of the main frame.
    Create Wiki Page button
  2. Once in Create Wiki Page, type a Name and a description of the wiki or instructions in the box below.
  3. Click Submit.

You can delete an entire wiki or a Sub-page within a wiki, but you cannot delete the wiki home page by itself. Students do not have the ability to delete any wiki pages.
Delete Wiki menu

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Adding or Editing Wiki Content

Any course member can edit a course wiki page and any group member can edit a group wiki page, unless the instructor has disabled this function. You might choose to disable editing when it is time to grade the wiki pages; however, you can still edit student pages. All course members, including instructors, edit in the same way.

When a user is editing a wiki page, it is locked for a duration of 120 seconds to prevent others from editing the same page. Users are informed that another user is currently editing the page. The lock will expire in 120 seconds regardless of a user’s activity/inactivity. After 120 seconds, another user can start editing the page and a new 120 seconds lock is placed on the page.

You cannot change the lock setting or amount of time allotted.

Because a wiki stores each page version in its history, including who made any changes and when, you have an opportunity to retrieve information on any individual’s contribution to a page. You can click History in a page’s contextual menu to see how a page was modified, view any version, and compare two versions side by side.

Use the following steps to edit a wiki page.

  1. Open the Course Tools menu.
  2. Click Wikis to access the course Wikis page.
    Course Management Menu
  1. You can edit each wiki’s properties (such as date and time restrictions, grading, or participation settings) by mousing over the name of the wiki, opening the context menu and selecting Edit Properties.
    Wiki context menu
  2. Or you can click on the name of the wiki you would like to edit the content of.
    Wiki Page
  3. In the sidebar, access the page’s contextual menu and click Edit  or click Edit Wiki Content next to the page’s title in the content frame.Edit Wiki content
  1. On the Edit Wiki Page, you can make changes to the name and content of the page.  Reference the Blackboard Content Editor documentation for complete details on using the editor.
  1. Click Submit when you are finished adding or editing content.

See View and Grade Wiki Participation for information on assessing and grading Wikis.

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Linking to Other Wiki Pages

When course members create or edit wiki pages, they may need to reference another page in the wiki. If the wiki consists of many pages, you can insert a link to that page right on the page you are currently viewing.

In our example, we create a new wiki page and a link to another page.

  1. Either create a new wiki page using the Create Wiki Page button, or edit an existing wiki page with the Edit Wiki Content button.
    Create Wiki Page and Edit Wiki Content buttons
  2. In the Content box, position the cursor where you want to include a link to another wiki page.
  3. Click the Link to Wiki Page function in the content editor (see image below), represented by several sheets of paper. (If only one wiki page exists, this option is disabled.)

    Wiki Page Link button

  4. In the pop-up window, select a Wiki Page Link from the drop-down list.
  5. Optionally, type a name for the link in the Rename Wiki Page Link box. If the link is not renamed, the original page title is used as the link.
    Add Wiki Page Link
  6. Click Submit. The new page with the link to the other page is added to the wiki.

    Link to Wiki Home Page added

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Commenting on Wiki Pages

Course members can comment on wiki pages rather than contribute to or edit a page. Commenting provides a way for you and your students to offer feedback and suggestions. Comments are visible to all course members. All comments for all wiki pages are counted in the Wiki Details section in the sidebar.

No one can edit comments after they are posted. Users can delete the comments they authored. For group wikis, the default setting allows all course members to read them, but you must be a member of the group to make a comment. You can change the default setting to allow only group members to view a group wiki.

  1. Access a wiki and click the page to view in the sidebar. The wiki page opens in the content frame.
  2. Click Comment following the user’s contribution and type a comment. You can use the spell check function at the bottom of the box as needed. Comments have a 2,000-character limit. A pop-up message advises that a comment over 2,000 characters must be edited and resubmitted.
  3. Click Add. Click the Comments link below the contribution to view the comment.

    comment_wiki

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Deleting a Wiki

If you no longer need a wiki, you can delete it. Deleting a wiki is permanent.

  1. On the Wikis listing page, access a wiki’s contextual menu and click Delete.Deleting a wiki
  2. Click OK in the pop-up warning.
  3. If the wiki you want to delete is graded, the Delete Confirmation page appears. You have three options:
  • Do not select check box(es) and click Remove : The wiki is deleted, but the Grade Center column and scores you have assigned are retained. If you delete a wiki, yet retain the Grade Center column, you can delete that column from the Grade Center at any time.
  • Select the check box(es) and click Remove: The grade column in the Grade Center and the wiki are deleted. Select if you do not want to include the grade column for the wiki contributions in the final grade.
  • Click Cancel to go back. Neither the wiki nor the grades will be deleted.

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Grading a Wiki

An instructor can choose to make a wiki graded. Grading a wiki is much like grading in other collaborative tools in Blackboard and when you enable grading, a column is created automatically in the Grade Center. You must create or have access to a wiki before you can assign grades. To enable grading in a wiki, an instructor must create or edit that individual wiki’s settings:
Wiki Grade Settings

You must enter the number of points possible for the wiki (all work by a single student cumulatively in an individual wiki is considered one grade), and note that you may choose to use a rubric. To learn more about rubrics, see the Grading Rubrics article.

This article will cover what you need to know in order to view a single student’s contributions to a wiki, so you can evaluate their participation and assign them a grade.

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Grading Status Icons

When setting up a wiki to be graded, you are given the option to show a “needs grading” icon Needs Grading Icon in your Grade Center after a certain number of saved pages:

Wiki Grading Settings

The default setting is to show the needs grading icon every time a student saves 1 wiki page, but this box can be unchecked so that this icon never appears, or you can alter the number of pages that a student must save before the icon appears. (This icon will also appear on the wiki’s Participation Summary page, next to the student’s name.)

The in progress icon Attempt in Progress icon shows in the Grade Center cell and in the wiki’s Participation Summary page when:

  • There has been student activity that does not meet the minimum number of page saves you set.
  • If you did not select the Show Participants in needs grading status check box.

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View the Participation Summary

On the Participation Summary page, you can view a list of all student participation for the current wiki you are viewing. The information provided can help you understand how students contributed to the overall wiki content. This information can be especially useful when determining individual grades for gradable wikis.

  1. Access a wiki.
  2. On the wiki topic page, click Participation and Grading for graded wikis (or Participation Summary for wikis with no grading).Accessing the Participation and Grading page
  1. On the Participation Summary page, view participation for the students who have contributed to the wiki.Wiki Participation Summary
  2. By clicking the downward-facing chevron in the side bar, you can expand the Wiki Details to show all participating students. In this sidebar area, you can select a user to view his or her Participant’s Contribution page:
    Wiki Particpant's Contribution page

      • Page Version: Displays all pages created and edited by a user. This allows you to see precisely how and what content a user contributed and edited. If many pages appear, narrow what is shown using the Display Pages drop-down menu.
      • User’s Modifications: A new Version is created each time a page is edited. When you compare versions, the difference between any version and its previous version are shown on the Page Comparison page. Click the Compare to Version __ link to go to the Page Comparison page.
      • Created On: Displays the date and time each new version was created by this student.
      • Words Modified: Tallies the total number of words altered in each version that was created by this student.

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Page Comparison

When you compare two versions, the Page Comparison page opens in a new window. The Comparison Details tab lists basic information about the two versions side by side.

Click the Legend tab to view the comparison with a legend or explanation of the formatting used to communicate version differences. Collapse either tab by clicking the X to allow for more room to view the page.

Wiki Page Comparison Page

In the preceding image, contributed text is highlighted green and removed text is red and uses a strike-through the words. An image is highlighted green with a plus sign in the corner to indicate it is new. The removed image is highlighted pink with a diagonal strike-through pattern.

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Grade Wiki Contributions

  1. Access a wiki.
  2. On the wiki topic page, click Participation and Grading Participation and Grading button on the action bar.
  3. On the Participation Summary page, click a student’s name in the content frame or in the drop-down list in the sidebar. In the drop-down list, students with contributions ready for grading appear with exclamation marks.
    Participation Summary page
  4. On the Participant’s Contribution page, a list of the student’s pages and page versions opens in the content frame. You can also view information about the contributions.
  5. In the Page Version column, click a page’s title to review it.
  6. In the grading sidebar, type a numeric grade in the grade box. If you associated a rubric with this graded wiki, expand and complete the rubric. To learn more, see Rubrics. To edit an existing grade, click in the grade box and change the grade.
  7. Optionally, type Feedback notes for the student. In the Add Notes section, make notes that appear only to you and others with Instructor, TA or Grader course roles.
  8. The icon for Click to open full content editor gives you access to all the content editor functions. You can use the spell check function in the bottom of each box.
  9. Click Submit to add the grade, feedback, and grading notes to the Grade Center.
  10. Use the left- and right-pointing arrows to navigate to the previous or next student.

    Participant's Contribution page

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Group Wiki Grading

On the Participation Summary page, the grading sidebar appears, listing all group members.

Wiki Group Participation Summary

The needs grading icon appears in the All drop-down list Image of All dropdown list for contributing group members. When you add a grade for a group wiki and click Submit, the grade is automatically given to all the members of the group (even if a member did not contribute) and is populated in the corresponding column in the Grade Center for each group member. Students can view their group wiki grades in My Grades and on their My Contribution pages.

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Change a Single Group Member’s Grade

You can assign an individual group member a different grade than the group by editing the grade for the member. If you change a group member’s grade, and you assign a new group grade, the new group grade will not affect the individual’s new grade. Individual members only see one grade, not what each member earned. The individual’s new grade will not appear to the other group members.

On the Participation Summary page, in the grading sidebar:

  1. Click the pencil icon Image of pencil icon to change the group grade for a member.
  2. Type a new grade.
  3. Click the check mark icon Image of checkmark icon to save it or the x icon Image of x icon to cancel.

Wiki Group Grading

The group grade and the individual group member’s edited grade also appear in the Grade Center, (grades can also be edited or overwritten directly from the Grade Center). Grayed out cells appear in the group wiki column for course members who are not part of the group.

Image of Grade Center group wiki columns
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Revert a Group Member’s Edited Grade

You can revert a member’s edited grade to the original group grade, which all group members received.

On the group’s Participation Summary page,

  1. Click the pencil icon Image of pencil icon for the user with the edited grade.
  2. Click the left-pointing arrow to change the grade to the original group grade.
    Image of Wiki Grade Override

The override icon is removed, and the change also appears in the Grade Center.

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