Incorporating Wiki Technology in a Traditional Biostatistics Course: Effects on University Students’ Collaborative Learning, Approaches to Learning and Course Performance

Shirley S.M. Fong, Samuel Kai Wah Chu, Wilfred W.F. Lau, I. Doherty, K.F. Hew
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 16  •  2017  •  pp. 285-299

To investigate the effectiveness of incorporating wiki technology in an under-graduate biostatistics course for improving university students’ collaborative learning, approaches to learning, and course performance.

During a three year longitudinal study, twenty-one and twenty-four undergraduate students were recruited by convenience sampling and assigned to a wiki group (2014-2015) and a control group (2013-2014 and 2015-2016), respectively. The students in the wiki group attended face-to-face lectures and used a wiki (PBworks) weekly for online- group discussion, and the students in the control group had no access to the wiki and interacted face-to-face only. The students’ collaborative learning, approaches to learning, and course performance were evaluated using the Group Process Questionnaire (GPQ), Revised Study Process Questionnaire (R-SPQ-2F) and course results, respectively, after testing.

Multivariate analysis of variance results revealed that the R-SPQ-2F surface approach score, surface motive and strategy subscores were lower in the wiki group than in the control group (p < 0.05). The GPQ individual accountability and equal opportunity scores (components of collaboration) were higher in the wiki group than in the control group (p < 0.001). No significant between-groups differences were found in any of the other outcome variables (i.e., overall course result, R-SPQ-2F deep approach score and subscores, GPQ positive interdependence score, social skills score, and composite score). Looking at the Wiki Questionnaire results, the subscale and composite scores we obtained were 31.5% to 37.7% lower than the norm. The wiki was used at a frequency of about 0.7 times per week per student.

Using wiki technology in conjunction with the traditional face-to-face teaching method in a biostatistics course can enhance some aspects of undergraduate students’ collaborative learning (individual accountability and equal participation opportunity) and approaches to learning (with less surface learning). However, use of a wiki does not improve course performance.

statistics, education, social media, group processes, learning
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