A lot of my students are using WikiPedia as a resource.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but many of them do not understand exactly why it could be problematic.  I feel the best way to understand how a Wiki works is to use one.

Instead of polluting a wonderful resource like WikiPedia, I decided to setup my own wiki to use with my students.  I already have a Moodle server with a wiki, but I wanted a stand alone version.  I consulted the OpenSourceCMS – CMS Ratings list and found that MediaWiki with high ratings.

MediaWiki uses PHP and MySQL.  There was no prep as the install script setup the database and populated all the tables.  I found a nice installation resource:

that helped with a couple of problems I encountered.  The main problem with the default installation is that anyone (including anonymous users) can create or edit entries.  I wanted to require users to login before doing these things.  In defense of MediaWiki’s defaults, it does give IP address tracking for anonymous users.  But for my class, I wanted to be able to easily determine who has created or edited each entry.

I gave everyone a copy of WikiPedia’s Cheatsheet for editing.  We are creating a wiki that covers copyright and all its implications on education.  There isn’t a lot of formatting required, but everyone does have to insert links to external resoures.  At this point, we are about half way through the project.  It seems to be going well.  I’ll post a followup when we finish.  It could be interesting.

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