Documentation:Wiki Decision Tree

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Wikis are a tool for collaboration and publishing. Public wikis, like Wikipedia and UBC Wiki have public reaches that go beyond the classroom. UBC wiki is entirely open to public views and we often find students' created pages are highly findable in search engines such as Google. Wikipedia is one of the top 10 accessed websites in the world so visibility for Wikipedia pages is high. One of the major differences between Wikipedia and UBC Wiki is that Wikipedia editors include a large, public community of contributors with high editorial standards and processes and policies. While the UBC community has a community of contributors, editing is limited to the UBC community (those with a CWL). It also has much more flexible editorial standards and processes.

Why use a Wiki?

  • For students to have authentic public audiences for their work
  • For student work to be contributing to public knowledge
  • Foster collaboration both inside the classroom and beyond
  • To build digital literacies through the process of creation
  • Possibilities for peer review (built in into Wikipedia)
  • Support sustainability - Student projects can be iterative and re-used and built upon across terms in a varying context.
  • Student as a producer model - Students can produce something of value to wider audience
  • Wiki content is highly sharable in multiple formats and technology

How instructors are using Wikis

Planning starts with considering the kind of learning you want to support. Consider:

  • How will a wiki help support my goals for student learning?
  • What lasting benefit might students derive from my use of the wiki?
  • What will they/ I need in the way of support to get started?

Wikis are particularly good at supporting:

  • Collaboration: afforded by open editing and discussion page features.
Example: Dr. Tina Loo, Professor of History | HIST396: Environmental History of North America
Example: Urban Geography|
  • Authentic practice: by engaging students in producing useful and sustainable resources that contribute to knowledge in a particular field.
Example: Dr. Jon-Beasley Murray, Associate Professor of French, Hispanic & Italian Studies | Latin American Studies
Example: Dr. Janice Stewart, Dr. Lori Macintosh, Professors in the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice | GRSJ224A: Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice in Literature
  • Communication and digital media practices: related to writing and publishing for public audiences and may incorporate the creation and use of media (beyond text) to support the work.
Example: Math Exam Resources - resources developed by graduate students in the Math Department.
  • Shared learning resource development: which may include a student generated reading/resource list or annotated bibliography or fully developed learning resource.
Example: Case Studies in Sustainability

UBC Wiki vs Wikipedia

Instructors at UBC often choose UBC Wiki or wikipedia for creating an open assignment. Considerations for choosing in-between two platforms are often constrained/impacted by:

  • assignment type:
  • Is your assignment suitable for a public encyclopedia?
  • Do you require more latitude than Wikipedia allows?
  • level of public engagement:
  • Is it important for students to engage with a wider community of collaborators?
  • Is it important for students work to have high visibility/impact?

Please take a look at Effective Practices for UBC Wiki and Effective Practices for Wikipedia when you make the decision.

Wiki assignment decision tree diagram -if you click on this diagram, it will open a pdf file



  • Orientation Support: WikiEdu has orientation resources for instructors and students
  • Learner Management Support: WikiEdu will guide you on how to use WikiEdu to manage your course
  • Assignment Scaffolding: WikiEdu has a tool to scaffold assignment with course schedule


  • Consultation: CTLT, UBC Library or Faculty Support provides consultation on how you want to integrate wiki to your course
  • One on One Support: Trouble with Wiki? Drop by at the LT hub (
  • Workshops: CTLT and UBC Library facilitates workshops on open practice in wiki