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INTRODUCTION


There is a saying that “the root of education is bitter but the fruit is always sweet.” This statement was more effective back in early 70s and 80s, and before that. The revolution of technology offered humans more convenient and efficient ways to learn. The birth of Wiki in the market is considered to be one of the easy ways of collaborative working.

Topic of the final report
The topic of the final report is Wiki and is divided into two main subjects: The research and the sample application.

Research
The research covers and explains in detail WIKI’s History, its Creator, how technology works, its ownership, its common uses, its uncommon uses, and how it works.

Sample application
The sample application shows how Wiki can be applied and what advantages it yields. The sample application turned out to be a very efficient and interesting method of group collaboration. Since group work is associated with communication and editing problems, the sample application we created demonstrates how such hassle can be avoided.

The activities the project involved
The first activity of the project can be described in one simple sentence: to get as much information as possible. This was achieved through interviews with various experts such as librarian and university professors. Also the online databases helped us in performing the research. One of these websites that turned out to be an extremely helpful source was the Lexis-Nexis online database found in the library portal website. This database contains journals and magazines from the past twenty to thirty years. Moreover, the search engine of Lexis-Nexis can be applied to very specific topics such as Wiki’s ownership or other interesting subjects.

Group members worked on the project and their respective tasks Cervone Massimo
His main responsibility within the group was to lead the group in the most effective and responsible way possible. Massimo also took part in the research of Wiki and the creation of the sample application on science covering the main topic of statics within mechanics. He also edited whatever sample application he received from the other members of the group to create the Wiki website at http://students.Wikicities.com/Wiki/City_College_of_New_York_-_CUNY. Massimo also revised the Introduction written by Matin in terms of grammar and formatting style. Moreover, he was involved in researching and wroting about Wiki’s creator and how technology works.

Farrell Renaldo
For Part1, Renaldo’s responsible was to write about Wiki’s history and its ownership to be placed in the introduction. For Part2, he created the sample application for Liberal Arts. His main topic was Jewish studies taking Babylonian Jerusalem Talmud as a source and reference. Babylonian Jerusalem Talmud is part of Jewish Bible, thus, having the Jewish religious organization as the author.


Lendhey Matin
Matin proofed to be also a very responsible candidate within the group providing interesting and important sources of information. As mentioned in the proposal, his main searching methods were based on the usage of Google search engine. Obviously, to avoid plagiarism all groups members helped Matin in formulating sentences in own words without using some else’s ideas. Matin also created a sample application in Mathematics specifically Integration.

Okobiah Karo
Karo also demonstrated responsibility and professionalism in researching Wiki. He contacted several professors at Colleges and Universities located in New York and Oregon. For instance, at the University of Illinois Karo contacted a Professor that successfully implemented Wiki for his classroom setting. Indeed, Karo’s contribution to the research has been valuable to all members of the group. As far as the second part of the project, Karo created a sample application in Engineering. Within Engineering, he chose to show how the topic of Thermodynamics can implemented in a Wiki application.

Questions being answered in this project
The questions being answered in this project are the following:

Questions regarding Wiki

  • What is Wiki?
  • Who is Wiki’s Creator?
  • How does the technology work in implementing Wiki?
  • Who can be regarded as the owner of Wiki?
  • What are Wiki’s common uses?
  • What are Wiki’s uncommon uses?
  • How does Wiki specifically work?
  • How can Wiki be implemented?
  • How does a sample application look like?
  • Is Wiki safe to use?



Questions regarding the project

  • Who worked on this project?
  • What were each individual’s responsibilities within the group?
  • What techniques were used to perform the research?
  • What kinds of sample classes were created?
  • What was the outcome of the research and the sample application?



Main discoveries and results of the research


METHODS


This project has two main parts. The first part of the report discusses the technology, history, and creator, common and uncommon uses of Wiki while the second part describes the application Wiki technology in the creation of sample classes. We accorded our methods in line with the two main tasks of the project.

Task 1: Researching the technology, history and creator and standard uses of Wiki For this task, we focused mainly on researching the City College Library database and conducting interviews with Professors and students.

Research in the library In conducting our research using the library database we used the Lexis-Nexis database and the Google search engine. We decided to use these two methods of research because Wiki is a relatively new technology and most of the information we required are in journals and magazine articles. Lexis-Nexis is very extensive with full texts magazine articles and journals. The only book we found on Wiki is “The Wiki way: Quick collaboration on the Web” by Leuf, B. & Cunningham, W. (creator of Wiki).

Cervone Massimo and Farrell Renaldo worked together and researched on the technology, history and creator of Wiki. They conducted the research and readings together during meeting times – on Thursdays at 11am- 2pm. They found most articles from the Lexis-Nexis database and Google search engine. Google??? turned out to be very useful in finding the information on Wiki’s ownership and its history. Most of the information of the creator and technology of Wiki was found on Lexis-Nexis.

Lendhey and Okobiah worked together and researched on the standard and instructional uses of Wiki, and its possible future. Some part of the research was also done in the City College library using the Lexis Nexis database. This research was also conducted during meeting times on Thursdays, 11am – 2pm. They also consulted various reviews to determine the possible future of Wiki and its use by various such as companies and institutions. To complete this part of the first task, they conducted interviews to determine the immediate attitude of the City College Community to the use of Wiki technology.


Interviews and Surveys In completing the research for the standard uses and possible future of Wiki, Lendhey and Okobiah interviewed Dr. Barnet on March 9th,2006 at 12:00 noon to learn his point of view of the use of Wiki for instructional and informational purposes. After we interviewed him, we decided to interview other people, especially students in order to have a balanced view of the attitudes of the City College community towards the use of Wiki technology. Cervone interviewed a friend and Okobiah interviewed a student at City College of New York. Wendy Amsellen was interviewed by Ferrell Renaldo on Monday, 20th, 2006 at 3:15pm. We also wanted to interview two professors at University of Maryland, Baltimore and University of Illinois, Chicago, who have implementations of Wiki for instructional uses. We were unable to get in touch with the professors due to conflicting schedules. However we as a group interviewed Professor Dave Sullivan at the Oregon State University on Tuesday March 21, 2003 .


Task 2: Creating Sample Application classes in required subject areas. This task required creating sample application classes in four subject areas:

  • A sample instructional in Integration for the Mathematics subject area
  • A sample instructional in Statics (Mechanics) for the Science subject area
  • A sample background application in Jewish Studies –Heretics and believers for the Liberal Arts subject area
  • A sample background application in thermodynamics for the Engineering subject area.



FINDINGS


Part 1 – Research

What is Wiki?
Wiki is a type of website based on writing communities in which groups and communities can easily exchange information on particular topics. Anyone wanting to use Wiki does not necessarily need programming skills because Wiki works like a word document in a simplified form. It can be read just like any other website. Furthermore, a big advantage about Wiki is that it stores the old documents. For instance, if a user decides to modify the content of a document, Wiki will not erase the old document but store it for future references. If anyone erases the entire content, a safely stored document can be easily retrieved.

Wiki’s History
The history of Wiki starts with the name Wiki Wiki. Wiki Wiki in its original Hawaiian tongue means very fast or very quick. The Wiki Wiki technology or Wiki for short allows any individual to quickly add, delete or revise any posted material. Wiki Wiki Web was the name of the first Wiki, it was created by Ward Cunningham in 1994, and published on the world wide web on March 25th, 1995. From Wiki’s inception in 1995 it was seen as the future of collaborative writing and direct communication within and without an organization, amongst researchers, students, and writer of mass media. For instance in January of 2001, a Wiki electronic encyclopedia was established, and the name of this online encyclopedia is Wikipedia. Wikipedia contains over three million articles in various languages, and approximately a third of which is in English. In December 2002, the company Social Text developed and launched the first commercial Wiki software which allowed any one person or Business to use Wiki technology for the purpose of collaborative writing. In addition, by the end of 2004, downloads of Wiki software such as Media Wiki and T1 Wiki, grew to over one million. Today many companies and the mass media use Wiki as their sole means of collaborative writing.

Wiki’s Creator
Ward Cunningham was the first person to create a website in which everyone who visited the website had the ability to edit and add new material to it. Since those who visit these Wiki sites have the ability to do corrections, the websites will always be accurate and up-to-date with the least amount of errors. Indeed, Ward Cunningham is the father and the creator of Wiki and has an innovation of community-oriented computing.

How technology works
Since everyone is involved in the webpage, teamwork is highly facilitated. Working together in a group sharing information, documents, and other important paperwork, is not an easy task. The way Wiki’s technology works is that the entire group working on a certain project can edit and add important information to it. The advantage lies in the fact that no webmaster is needed to create a website. It is like working in a virtual office room without being literally present.
Comparing conventional websites to this new technology, Wikis can be up-to-dated more often then regular websites, thus, making the content newer then regular websites. The reason is because it is easier and more convenient to make corrections and add new material to it. You do not need call an HTML expert to modify the content but everyone such can put hand on it.

Wiki’s Ownership
From the research, I could not find a clear understanding of who owns the Wiki technology. However the Wiki technology seems to be protected by copy write laws, Trademark, patent etc. It seems plausible to conclude that since Cunningham was the creator of Wiki, he owns the patent and copy write of Wiki, and frames it in such a way that allows others to use the Wiki technology and create similar technology for it. Companies such as Social Text, Confluence, and JBoss, commercially produce Wiki softwares. Each company seems to have their own set of copy write laws, trademarks, and patent that protects its software and govern its uses. They are literally hundreds of web sites that are able to create, host, or download Wiki web pages. For instance, Jotspot, Wiki cities, Wiki farms, and riters offer free Wiki hosting, and downloads; however, the Wiki software these websites used maybe owned by a company who protects the software through copy write laws, trademark or patent.

Common uses of Wiki
Common Wiki uses are: brain storming, developing frequently asked questions with responses, collaborative working environment, planning, scheduling, family histories, course material and project. This is why Wiki is gaining recognition especially in the educational field. Collaborative work between students and teachers is now becoming much easier thanks to the implementation of Wiki. Some examples are students who use Wiki to collaborate on a group report, compile data, or share the results of their research. Professors can make use of Wiki to organize a course and Wiki can serve as part of each person’s course website.

Uncommon uses of Wiki
One uncommon uses of Wiki is the implementation of videos while editing the web content even though it is possible. Usually Pod casting is responsible for audio and video broadcasting. This method of using video in Wiki is called video LAN and is used to play media files and streams.

How it works
The way Wiki works, is that most of its engines are free and need to be connected with a databases to store the documents and information. Obviously, every document or even character occupies a memory in the CPU of the Computer. Using a conventional website requires knowledge and intelligence to maintain its structure and correctness. However, when it comes to maintain a Wiki type of website, little technical skills are required such as understanding codes deriving from hypertext markup languages. If someone has these kinds of knowledge, one can decorate and format Wiki websites to make them more attractive for the user.

Part2 – Creating a sample lesson


SAMPLE LESSONS

(Massimo - write description of sample applications)


CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Wiki has clear potential in distance education, allowing users to brainstorm ideas with an unlimited number of people around the world, and to collaborate with them in exchanging files and developing WebPages. It is believed that an increasing number of educators will encourage their students to develop the simple online editing and sharing skills that makes Wiki useful.

In addition, Wiki easily creates simple website that allows students to spend more time on the contents of the site instead of trying to learn how to make one. In the project development, teachers see what students are doing and they help them if students are off the track. Moreover, teachers comment on the project from time to time rather then to present their comments on the final draft.

Even though there are various positive things to talk about Wiki, there are several disadvantages. In an interview conducted by Cervone Massimo, Ferrell Renaldo, Lendhey Matin and Okobiah Karo on March 9, 2006 with Professor Barnet – Librarian for the Science Library and City College of New York, we as a group came to the conclusion that Wiki is not as famous as originally believed. In fact, we asked Professor Barnet whether he uses Wiki or not and if he will ever use it in future? The answer was that he never used Wiki before admitting even that he did not know much about Wiki. An interesting point Doctor Barnet mentioned was the issue with the safety of Wiki. Having the ability and power to manipulate information, a persona can practically write any information possible. This information can be wrong. Dr. Barnet added that he found an article on the website two months ago containing offensive language; absolutely inappropriate for readers. Moreover, terrorists may take advantage of Wiki websites to edit information that can lead to enormous tragedies for our society. One example of such misuse of Wiki is to share information on how to create a bomb and where to get the material. Hopefully this will never happen!

Furthermore, he supported his opinion by presenting one more behavior by user. He said, NASA scientists had posted a really good article on the supernova explosion and few weeks later someone deleted it before many had chance to read it.

Many universities and schools like university of Illinois uses Wiki to help students understand several courses like Biology 414/614 and Psychology 055/111. However, Dr. Barnet does not support the idea of using Wiki for City College of New York.

Wiki can be made better if it has some kind of security or protection such as a password. The password should then be shared only within the group composed by individuals collaborating on specific tasks. This is the most important recommendation about Wiki one could suggest .


APPENDIX

(Massimo - copy and paste sample lessons)

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