Collaboration through Wiki and Paper Compositions in Foreign Language Classes

  • Rob A. Martinsen
  • Andrew Miller

Abstract

This study investigates the nature of collaboration on wikis as opposed to
the nature of collaboration resulting in a paper composition. In order to
understand this phenomenon students were placed in groups of four and
asked to write two essays during the semester. On one essay students were
asked to produce a composition in the target language on a wiki. On
another they were asked to produce a composition that would be given to
the teacher in hard copy. Specific research questions included
determining to what extent students prefer collaborating to produce a wiki
or paper composition. Additionally, we attempted to determine, according
to students, what the advantages and disadvantages of collaborating on a
wiki composition versus a paper composition are and what effect these
advantages and disadvantages might have on collaboration. Data was
collected from over one hundred university students through likert-scale
type questions, open-ended written questions as well as face to face
interviews. Findings indicate that the collaborative process on the wiki
reflected true collaboration where students had a hand in each part of the
composition. On the other hand, while completing the paper composition,
students generally handed their assigned portion to a single student in the
group who was designated the compiler and would rarely see or comment
on the other group members’ work. The authors also provide a discussion
of specific advantages and disadvantages of wiki and paper-based
compositions and important implications for practitioners.

Published
2012-04-15