Using Wikis in Educational Research: A Case Study in Legal Education

Using Wikis in Educational Research: A Case Study in Legal Education

Patrick A. Smith (Louisiana State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1173-2.ch002
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A wiki is a user-created website that can be accessed and modified by multiple users. As a Web 2.0 technology, wikis can be used to produce collaborative, co-created information and knowledge. The use of wikis can harness a group's collaborative and creative energy and allow the group to produce shared knowledge that benefits all members. Wiki also serves as a powerful tool for educational research. In this chapter, the author discusses the use of wikis in education and presents the results of a case study which explores factors that impact perceptions among faculty and students of the value of wiki technology in legal education, as well as the benefits of using wiki technology in educational research.
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As with undergraduate institutions, computers and the Internet can play an important and growing role in law schools for promoting learning, both in and outside of the classroom (Hirsh & Miller, 2004). In addition, computers and Internet technologies can provide students, just as it does for legal practitioners, with the ability to actively and collaboratively engage in their chosen avocation from virtually any location and at any time. As such, the development of Internet-based learning tools stands to have a profound impact on legal education and practice (Broussard, 2008). However, while the Internet has the potential to play an integral role in legal education, legal educators have been slow to embrace this technology (Saxer, 2000). As pointed out by Hirsh and Miller (2004), “Notwithstanding the ubiquitous presence of computers and the Internet at most American law schools, little has been done to expose future attorneys to the role that information technology will play in their professional lives” (p. 874). In addition to using technology in law schools to enhance student learning, legal educators must also instruct law students in how to use technology to enhance their future law practice (Saxer, 2000).

Courts and legal practitioners are using a variety of technologies to support themselves in their professional work. A 2014 report by the Supreme Court of Louisiana indicates that key technologies being used in the modern practice of law include case tracking and case management systems, electronic filing, audio and video enhancements in courtrooms, videoconferencing, and information sharing technologies. Furthermore, over two-thirds (69%) of judges recently surveyed indicated that a greater investment in courtroom technology is needed. Additionally, the 2013 New Lawyers Survival Guide by the Young Lawyers Counsel states that, “Lawyers who believe that they don’t need to know much about technology in order to make good decisions are dangerous to their clients” (p. 14).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Instant Messaging: IM, a type of online communication, or chat, which offers the synchronous, real-time transmission of text over the internet.

Wiki: A web-based program that allows easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked Web pages, using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor, within the browser. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites, to power community websites, for personal note taking, in corporate intranets, and in knowledge management systems.

Digital Storytelling: A type of online digital media presentation that allows ordinary Internet users to share aspects of their lives or present an idea over the Internet using various forms of media; to include digital photographs, paintings, audio, video, and animations; in a creative and engaging fashion.

RSS Feeds: Stands for really simple syndication, is a type of online feed that allows users to subscribe to frequently updated Internet content, like news feeds, blog entries and podcast updates.

World Wide Web (WWW): Often referred to simply as the web, is a term used to describe the numerous interconnected webpages, documents and resources that became publicly accessible over the Internet using uniform resource locators (URLs) in the late 1980s.

Blog: A type of website that includes content-related online entries, or posts, that tend to be written by a specific group of people who provide information and insight, such as technical experts, or people with unique viewpoints. Users scroll through the posts on a blog in chronological order in a manner similar to that of reading a diary or journal.

Web 2.0: Web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the world wide web. A Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with other users or to change website content, in contrast to non-interactive websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information that is provided to them.

Social Bookmarking: Also known as tagging, is an online service that allows users to add, annotate, edit, organize and share bookmarks to web pages and documents in a centralized fashion.

Podcast: Derived from the terms broadcast and iPod, is a type of website that includes a series of episodic digital media files, initially audio files, that users listen to by subscribing to and downloading or streaming online using a computer or mobile device through the process of web syndication.

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