Wiki Essay

The wiki assignment settled in my mind wonky. It, like the blog assignment, I had pegged as being more narrowly focused and time consuming than it was, or that I eventually devoted to it anyway. I am still not entirely sure what I was supposed to do or that what I eventually did do was “correct.” I allowed native intellect and intuition to take over and just trusted that there was enough latitude built into the assignment that as long as I tried to do the assignment as I best understood then the universe would settle things out for me. I think that is always a good attitude to have.

I have prior experience with wikis. I have been using wikis throughout my time here at Eastern; since last fall. I don’t know how much interest I have in them, personally, but I am glad to have been formally introduced to them. I think that wikis have great potential for both personal and business related uses. I can’t help but admire them and all that they allow us participants to do. I haven’t really discovered a personal reason to have or use a wiki outside of class, so I don’t know how useful it is to me yet. I was late in visiting Wikipedia – it seemed like it had been around forever before I bothered to visit it. I don’t spend a lot of time on that site, but I do visit it on occasion to support research or to research something obscure. I have never edited on Wikipedia and I don’t feel much desire to do so. I suppose if I came across some false or misleading information about myself I might want to go in an edit but even then I don’t know. Is that laziness or indifference? I dunno. I don’t.

Why do people participate on wikis? This has been addressed in class and I don’t think my opinion has changed. I just think that I am an example of someone who is particular and not easily influenced by communities, individuals or fads. There is no compulsion to participate on a wiki outside of a class assignment just as there is no desire to own an ipod. Both don’t factor in my life – period. Yet, I am glad that both exist. I can see that it serves a purpose for someone so…yay. (The way things go in life there might be no of getting around it – I might have to buy an ipod if I want to listen to music. Such is the way of technology). I suppose some people just like participating, especially about things that they care about, like horn-billed swallows, the 80’s hair-metal band Trixter, or concrete and its long history.

Again, my idea of what I was supposed to contribute or perhaps I should say how I was supposed to contribute to the wiki changed over time. I thought that I would contribute a page discussing art in relation to Eastern Michigan University. How the school includes art on its campus, what it teaches in regards to art, how, or what art the school supports philosophically or financially, and what students are doing artistically. Write an update page or a review page, just whatever seemed appropriate. Even as I write that sentence I am reminded of how encompassing and ambitious my idea was. I didn’t do much for that idea initially other than create a home page. Someone later added pages within mine, and that began my rethinking of how I would go about this assignment. Initially, I was even upset that someone would take my idea and run with it. I wanted to work within my own idea – “go get your own” I thought to myself. Humph, indeed.

My progress on the wiki was slow. My work in this class in general has been slow and methodical. It is due to the level of difficulty in working with a brand new language. It is sometimes impossible. I had to prioritize early on as I continue to today. So the wiki took a backseat to exercises and reading assignments, the flowerpots and so forth. Looking at the contributions from classmates on the wiki helped guide me as to what I was supposed to do, or how to do it. (It had to be a “grit my teeth and do it” assignment, and I was glad to have finished it more or less at once). At some point I began to add entries. Three such entries went into my Art at Eastern Michigan University page and one went into an Art History page, all the remaining entries went into a Buildings page. I didn’t think research was as important as contributions so when I stumbled upon an EMU history page I found gold.

The entries already in the Buildings page didn’t give the impression that cutting and pasting was off limits. Consequently, I cut and pasted information and images from the website and voila! Hopefully, it was done well and in the spirit of the assignment. I didn’t take much from this assignment. I suppose had I not been familiar with wikis already I would have gotten more out of doing it. Though I certainly think wiki work is a good tool for school and especially for an online class.

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