Collaboration and competition on a wiki: The praxis of online social learning to improve academic writing and research in under-graduate students

Julie-Anne Carroll, Abbey Diaz, Judith Meiklejohn, Michelle Newcomb, Barbara Adkins


While the Internet has been described as fundamental to higher education students, social and leisure internet tools are also increasingly being used by these students to generate and maintain their social and professional networks and interactions. Rapid technological advancements have enabled greater and faster access to information for learning and education. As such, we sought to integrate interactive, online social media into the assessment profile of a Public Health undergraduate cohort at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The aim of this exercise was to engage students to both develop and showcase their research on a range of complex, contemporary health issues within the online forum of Wikispaces ( for review and critique by their peers. We applied Bandura's social learning theory (SLT) to analyse the interactive processes from which students developed deeper and more sustained learning, and via which their overall academic writing standards were raised. This paper outlines the assessment task and the students' feedback on their learning outcomes in relation to the attentional, retentional, motor reproduction, and motivational processes outlined by Bandura in SLT. We conceptualise the findings in a theoretical model, and discuss the implications for this approach within the broader tertiary environment. 


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