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Using online collaborative tools for groups to co‐construct knowledge

Samuel Kai‐Wai Chu (Division of Information and Technology Studies, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
David M. Kennedy (Teaching and Learning Centre, Lingnan University, Hong Kong)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 9 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on and describe the use of MediaWiki and Google Docs at undergraduate level as online collaboration tools for co‐constructing knowledge in group project work.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants included 22 undergraduate students from the Information Management Programme at the University of Hong Kong. All the students had used MediaWiki for the major project in their knowledge management course and Google Docs for their final year project. Questionnaires and semi‐structured telephone interviews were administered after completion of the course/final year project. All interview conversations were audio‐recorded and transcribed for analysis. Each transcript was e‐mailed to the interviewee for accuracy review. The qualitative data supplemented, enriched and clarified the quantitative responses from the online surveys.

Findings

The results indicated that some of the students had positive experiences using the tools for online collaboration in the group projects. Although more students found MediaWiki an effective knowledge management tool than Google Docs, many students highlighted the user‐friendly features of Google Docs.

Originality/value

These platforms (MediaWiki and Google Docs) gave teachers the facility to closely monitor student progress, and to provide feedback to assist in the effective management of the report‐writing process. Moreover,the use of Google Docs in an academic setting remains largely unexplored in the literature, even though the collaborative features of MediaWiki and Google Docs are relatively comparable.

Keywords

Citation

Kai‐Wai Chu, S. and Kennedy, D.M. (2011), "Using online collaborative tools for groups to co‐construct knowledge", Online Information Review, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 581-597. https://doi.org/10.1108/14684521111161945

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited