The Portal’s Wiki: a Quick Guide

The latest update to the Portal introduced a new Wiki tool.  A wiki is a collaborative tool that allows students to contribute and modify one or more pages of course related content. Members of a course can develop content on these shared pages using only a web browser.  Students can work together to create an assignment or build on a collection of ideas.  Instructors can create a single wiki for all members of the course or for specific groups. Student contributions to the Wiki tool in the Portal can be viewed and graded.

Getting Started
To create a course wiki, the instructor selects the Wiki tool option in a content area (e.g., Course Documents or Assignments) and enables the settings to make the wiki open for editing.  Grading options and rubrics can be applied to the wiki if applicable.

Examples of Use

  • Group Project Development: Students share ideas using the wiki to brainstorm and develop documentation, projects or assignments.
  • Student-built Resource: Students create class subject glossary or knowledge base.
  • Simple Group Sign-up: Create sign-up lists for assignment topics, office hours, lab groups, etc.
  • Group Presentations: In small groups, students can present course work or assignments.
  • Peer Review: Course area is viewable to all students for collecting, reviewing and sharing feedback on peer assignments.
  • Student Portfolios: Individual student wikis can showcase course work and ideas with a narrative as they reflect on their learning experience.

Advantages for Teaching
Wiki content grows as ideas develop. With each contribution the wiki evolves and student learning is scaffolded.  It is highly recommended that instructors provide students with clear instructions on how the wiki will be organized and review the wiki on a regular basis during its development.

Student Experience
Allows students to easily create and edit web page content remotely to facilitate collaboration and document the evolution of ideas.

Assessment & Evaluation
The Wiki tool provides participation summary and versioning features that include the author’s name, the number and percentage of words modified and the total number and percentage of pages saved. After reviewing the contributions, instructors have the ability to assign grading that is integrated with the Grade Center tool to track student progress.  Rubrics can also be assigned to the Wiki to provide clear descriptions to TAs on how student contributions should be evaluated. The Wiki tool is an excellent formative assessment tool for small classes.

Note: the Portal’s Wiki tool allows only 1 user to edit at a time. This feature prevents students from overwriting each other’s work as they enter the wiki at the same time. Rather than creating a course wiki in large classes, use the UT Manage Groups tool and assign wikis to individual groups.

Best Practices

  • Provide clear expectations and instructions to students on the purpose and use of the course Wiki
  • Inform students that only 1 person can edit at a time
  • For large classes create small groups and implement a wiki for each group rather than creating a course wiki
  • Assign a contribution window for wiki participation. Once the contribution period has ended, the instructor can select the option close editing and begin assigning grades
  • Create a rubric for the Wiki that represents grading descriptions and performance expectations

To learn more about the Wiki tool, please visit the Portal Information & Help web site at

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