OU Wiki

A wiki is a collaboratively designed webpage or series of webpages. Each time a person makes changes to a wiki page, that revision of the content becomes the current version, and an older version is stored. Edits can be reverted if necessary.

You can design wikis to provide students with collaboration, production, discussion or investigation activities.


As wikis enable students to collaboratively write and edit a document it is a great tool to support group work. Each of the edits and amendments in a wiki becomes a revision so the contribution of each group member can be monitored. The OU wiki in Moodle enables you to support the development of a module wiki which all the students contribute to or a series of group wikis to support group or project work. For group wikis you can create a template in advance to provide consistent pages and guidance to each of the student groups.

As each member of the wiki has equal editing (and therefore deleting rights) you might find it useful to set some ground rules with your students before you start with this activity. To help students engage with group work on a wiki it can be useful to assign them or ask students to self-select a wiki-role. Ferriter (n.d.) has produced a useful guide on wiki roles for student groups which provides an overview of the different types of roles that you might want to use.

Adding an OU wiki to your module

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Open the relevant section and click Add an activity or resource.
  3. In the section/topic you require choose OU Wiki from the Activity list and click Add.
  4. Give your wiki a meaningful Name
  5. You can provide a description in the Wiki description field and check the Display description on course page tickbox if you want this description to appear on the module homepage.
    add name and description
  6. Under Wiki settings box, the Sub-wikis drop-down menu gives you three options:
    • Single wiki for course: All students on the module have access to and equal editing rights on a module wiki.
    • One wiki per group: Members of each group see an entirely separate copy of the wiki (sub-wiki) specific to their group. You can only see pages created by people in the same group. If you are in more than one group, or you have permissions that allow you to view all groups, you get a dropdown to choose a group. It is useful to apply a template to this type of wiki so that each group gets the same wiki structure to start with. Read the guidance on Creating and applying a wiki template before you select this option.
    • Separate wiki for every user: Every single user gets an entirely different wiki. Like the One wiki per group option it is useful to apply a template to this type of wiki so that each group gets the same wiki structure to start with. Read the guidance on creating a wiki template before you select this option.
      sub-wiki settings
    The other options to consider are:
  7. Annotation system: This enables Lecturers on the module to add inline annotations to wiki pages. It's the wiki equivalent of a red pen! Select Yes to enable and No to disable. Students can also use the annotation system to discuss edits before they are made.
  8.  Set Time allowed for editing from the drop-down menu. If you select a timeout, people editing the wiki are only allowed to edit it for a given time. The wiki locks pages while they are being edited (so that two people can't edit the same page at once), so setting a timeout prevents the wiki becoming locked for others and is useful when you have a large group of students working on a wiki.
  9. Allow editing from: If you enable this option the wiki enters read-only mode until the given date. Users cannot edit pages until this date.
  10. Prevent editing from: If you enable this option the wiki enters read-only mode from the given date onwards. Users cannot edit pages after this date.
  11. Template: A template is a predefined set of wiki pages. When a template is set, the wiki starts off with the content defined in the template. To create a template, write the pages you want on any wiki, then visit the Index page and click the Save wiki as template. To learn more about creating a template, also see the Creating and applying a wiki template guide. Please note you need to apply the template before you save your wiki.
  12. Show word counts select Yes if you want the word count to display on each wiki page and No if you do not want the word count to display.
    wiki settings
  13. Check Link to import pages to add the ability to import pages from other wikis on the module into the current wiki.
  14. Set a grade type or select None from the Grade dropdown list. If Scale is chosen, you can then choose a scale from the Scale drop-down options. If Point is chosen, you can enter the maximum grade available for this activity in the Maximum points field.
    select grade type

  15. If you have set up categories within your Grader report area then you select the relevant Grade category under Grade settings here. Categories are useful for organising your grade area within a module.
    select grade category
  16. Grade to pass determines the minimum grade required to pass. The value is used in activity and course completion, and in the gradebook, where pass grades are highlighted in green and fail grades in red.
    set grade to pass
  17. Under Common module settings change Availability to Hide from students if you are not ready to make the activity visible, otherwise leave as Show on module page. It is also possible to choose Make available but not shown on module page where the wiki will not show as an activity on the module but will be listed in the gradebook and a link to the activity must be provided.
  18. Group mode must be set to No groups unless the sub-wiki option is set to One wiki per group. If you have selected one wiki per group, change Group mode to Separate groups if group members should only see their own group or Visible groups if you want each group member to participate in their own group and to see contributions from other groups.
    select group mode
  19. Where relevant, click Restrict access to add access restrictions to the wiki.
  20. To use Activity Completion please refer to the Activity Completion guidance.
  21. Click on Save and return to course.

Creating and applying a wiki template

 Click here for guidance
  1. Create the wiki
  • Click Turn editing on.
  • Open a section. (You will be hiding and then deleting this wiki so it does not matter which topic you add it to) Click Add an activity or resource and choose OU Wiki from the Activity list and click Add.
  • Give your wiki a Name 
  • Select single wiki for course
    select single wiki
    Scroll down to Common module settings, click the dropdown list alongside Availability and select Hide from students
    select hide from students
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save and Display

   2. Create Start page.

  • Click on Create page to create the start page.
    click create page
  • In the Content input field you can provide guidance to your students about the activity or just simply click on Save changes to create the Start page.
    add guidance to content box

  3. Create a new page: Navigate to the wiki page where you want a new page to link from.

  • In the Create new page input field type the name of your new page (e.g. Introduction). Click Create. You have the option of providing some text or sections to your page in the HTML creator or simply click on Save changes to save the new page.
    create new page

  4. Create a new section:

  • Sections enable you to layout a wiki page coherently and make it easier to edit long pages. There are two ways to add a new section: 1) creating custom HTML headers on a page, letting you add multiple sections at once or 2) using the Add new section to this page

Method 1:

  • Navigate to the wiki page where you want to create a new section.
  • Click on the title of the page to which you want to add a section, then click on Edit to open the HTML creator. Type the text of your section and select it. Choose the style of heading from the format dropdown menu (highlighted below) in the HTML editing tool bar.
    format drop-down menu

  • You can add multiple sections using this method. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save changes.

Method 2:

  • In the Add new section to this page input field type the name of your new section (e.g. Introduction), then click on Add. You have the option of adding some text underneath the section in the HTML editor. Click Save changes.
    add name to new section
     Note: if you want to create multiple sections using this method, you will need to type and Add the sections one at a time.

  5. Download wiki template

    • Once you have added all your pages, sections and advisory text you need to save this as a template

    • Click on wiki index on the right hand side of the screen.

      click on wiki index
    • Click on Download as wiki template file
      click download as wiki template file

    • Select Save File

    • Click OK to save the file to your computer.

6. Applying a wiki template

  • Follow the guidance for Adding a wiki to your module
  • Alongside Template. Click Choose a file
  • Click upload a file. Click Browse...Select the wiki template you saved to your computer. Click Upload this file.
  • Group mode: If you have opted to allow one wiki per group you can decide if each group can see only their own group wiki (separate groups) or visible groups if you want each group member to participate in their own group and to see contributions from other groups.
  • Click on Save and return to course.


Monitoring student participation on a group wiki

 Click here for guidance
  1. Click on the link to the wiki from the module homepage

  2. Select the group wiki you want to view from the drop down list of groups next to the Visible or Separate groups field.
  3. Select wiki index to view the wiki alphabetically or structurally.
  4. Select the page you want to view.
  5. Click on wiki changes to see the change history of the wiki.
    wiki changes
  6. You can compare different versions  to see what work has been contributed by different group members by clicking on History. This list of changes to the current page will be listed. Select the versions you want to compare, the click Compare selected.The older version is shown on the left under the heading Older version, where deleted text is highlighted. Added text is indicated in the newer version on the right under the heading Newer version. Each change is indicated by a pair of images before and after the added or deleted text, with appropriate alternative text.
    compare version of wiki
  7. Click on Participation by user to get an overview of the number of pages created and edited and words added and deleted for each user. You can also use the Grades dropdown to assign a grade for each student.
    participation by user
  8. To manage large groups working on a wiki you could ask students to use a different colour font to make it easy to identify their contribution or leave their initials after contributions. Alternatively you might ask students to work on a different section and then take on a whole wiki role (i.e. discussion starter, formatter, etc)  which you can then assess.

Additional Resources: