Destructive Creativity on the Social Web: Learning through Wikis in Higher Education


Work data:

Type of work: Book Chapter


Education | Social Media & Social Software


The use of group oriented software, or groupware, encourages students to generate their own content (McGill et al, 2005) and can foster supportive and dynamic communities of learning (Shaikh & Macauley, 2001). One form of open architecture groupware known as the Wiki is freely available online in several versions, and enables tutors to quickly set up online spaces which can be edited by students, at any time and from any location. Online social spaces of this nature can be used to encourage creative writing and to engage students in critical discourse through focused discussion, but Wikis also have disruptive potential and can cause dissent and disharmony within the group. This chapter aims to highlight some uses of the wiki as a social writing tool, reporting on student perceptions of the limitations and benefits. The chapter also focuses on the tension between creative and destructive uses of wikis and concludes by offering recommendations on the effective use of wikis in mainstream higher education. The use of interview data gathered from a study conducted with a group of student teachers in 2007 is included to support the key messages of this chapter.