Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


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Scheduled for publication in forthcoming issue of IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES, TLT-2009-07-0129 Digital Object Indentifier 10.1109/TLT.2009.50 Copyright 2009 IEEE. Used by permission.


Abstract—Wikis today are being used as a tool to conduct collaborative writing assignments in classrooms. However, typical Wikis do not adequately address the assessment of individual student contributions toward their groups or provide any automated group formation mechanism. To improve these aspects, we have designed and implemented ClassroomWiki – a Web-based collaborative Wiki writing tool. For the students, ClassroomWiki provides a Web interface for writing and revising their group’s Wiki and a topic-based forum for discussing their ideas during collaboration. When the students collaborate, ClassroomWiki tracks all student activities and builds detailed student models that represent their contributions toward their groups. For the teacher, ClassroomWiki provides a multiagent framework that uses the student models to form student groups to improve the collaborative learning of students. To investigate the impact of ClassroomWiki, we have conducted a three-week long collaborative Wiki writing assignment in a university-level history course. The results suggest that ClassroomWiki can (1) improve the collaborative learning outcome of the students by its group formation framework, (2) help the teacher better assess a student’s contribution toward his or her group and avoid free-riding, and (3) facilitate specific and precise teacher intervention with accurate and detailed tracking of student activities.