Creating a Community of Composers: A Wiki as a Collaborative Writing Space

Type of Culminating Activity

Graduate Student Project

Graduation Date

Spring 2009

Degree Title

Master of Arts in English, English Education



Major Advisor

Jeffrey Wilhelm


... an increasing number of communication technologies mediate the way that we understand the modern world, and as such, we can no longer consider literacy to be solely about the business of reading and writing. --Natasha Mayne, from "Re-Vision: Why Media Studies Does Not Mean the Death of Literature"

How It All Began...

The roots of this humble project date back to two classes I took in the fall of 2007 as a graduate student at Boise State University. In Heidi Estrem's seminar for English teaching assistants, I was introduced to the idea of a wiki as a space for teacher/student collaboration. In the class, graduate students who were teaching English 101 and 102 in the 2007-2008 school year posted their course descriptions, writing assignments, lesson plans, etc., to our class wiki in order to share ideas and collaborate in teaching. I found the wiki tremendously helpful for finding teaching ideas and for sharing lesson plans with other graduate students. In Tom Peele's Fall 2007 Advanced Nonfiction Writing class, we explored the concept of digital literacy and the importance of using technology as a pedagogical tool to make our classrooms relevant in today's techno-savvy world. For a class project, I decided to design a wiki for use in two first year writing classes that I was teaching at the time. This research project is the story of how that first wiki sparked a fundamental change in how I teach composition.

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