Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/The Active Wiki

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The Active Wiki (Brian Buehler)[edit]

The wiki environment would not exist without computers. When the Internet was first being established, it was done to provide a means in which to share information and research quickly among people far away from each other. This in itself spawned many different forms of sharing information, one of them being the wiki environment. Wiki is unique in that information is written by the masses, and thusly read and corrected by the masses. Cognition among everyone involved in writing a wiki page is shared and stored for future users.

Caroll stated that Activity Theory rejects the isolated human being as an adequate unit of analysis, insisting on cultural and technical mediation of human activity. One person is simply not enough to create a well thought out object based on this theory. This is where the Wiki environment shines. Thoughts, ideas, and facts are captured and mediated by the Wiki tool. Multiple users can come together both near and far and allow all of them to create content that they can call their own as their schedules permit. Even in this class, students are taking this course online from several locations around the US. They are able to post information to the Wiki page and build on each others thoughts and ideas to create a well founded object. Distance is not “seen” when interacting in this environment and brings people closer and simulates the individuals being in the same room at the same time.

However, the Wiki environment can deter interaction by some as it generally allows anyone to edit. If everyone contributing has the same goal in mind, this is a good thing, however this cannot be guaranteed. Most of the facts will be captured, but there is possibility that something is stated wrong and not corrected, which can lead to future mis-quoting in other research.

Even as time passes, the Wiki environment is generally recognized as a useful tool for collaboration and is being implemented in the workplace more and more. Human activity will continue to change and evolve, but the founded concepts of Activity Theory will remain as they try to understand the dynamics between hierarchically structured activity and computer use.