The technology affordances of personal wikis in higher education

Peter Mcdowell

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedings


    Recent industry commentary has highlighted the potential for employing selective information technologies to supplement the principal, integrative capabilities of online learning management systems: the emergent role of so-called "LMS alternatives" (EDUCAUSE, 2010).

    This paper examines the suitability of using personal wikis as a low-cost, flexible LMS alternative.

    Invoking a 'self-study' methodology (Loughran, 2005), the author reports his experience of introducing TiddlyWiki, "a reusable non-linear personal web notebook" (UnaMesa, 2011), within a 'blended mode' pre-service teacher education programme.

    Acknowledging the general requirements of LMS alternatives, the paper highlights several desirable affordances of personal wikis also shared with other technologies: the compact delivery of learning materials, students' discretionary online/offline access to technologically supported learning, and embedded facilities to promote academic integrity and reflective learning.

    A more specific and comparatively unique affordance derives from the way TiddlyWiki implements crucial elements of Theodor Nelson's concept of hypermedia (notably transclusion), which delivers knowledge management capabilities substantially beyond what students typically encounter in either their LMS or familiar implementations of hypertext (such as the Internet). This ability to both connect disparate items of learning (via hyperlinking) and to seamlessly interleave them (through transclusion) is especially empowering for students, and offers significant opportunities to introduce and encourage non-linear thinking and general systems analysis.

    Finally, these affordances are discussed in the broader context of recent theorising surrounding digitally-enhanced learning, including the acquisition of digital literacies by educators and their students.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on Innovation in Teaching, Research and Managmeent in Higher Education
    Place of PublicationHo Chi Min City, Vietnam
    PublisherSEAMEO RETRAC
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventInternational Conference on Innovation in Teaching, Research and Mangement in Higher Education - Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam
    Duration: 14 Jul 201115 Jul 2011


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Innovation in Teaching, Research and Mangement in Higher Education


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