I am using wikis in my class for the first time this semester. It has been interesting so far, to say the least. I haven't been using them for anything "fancy." We haven't even gotten to the point of creating links, headings, subheadings, and sections -- elements that seem common to the "genre." I've experimented with a couple of different approaches / assignments.
So far I have a couple of different purposes for our class wikis: 1) I want to use the wikis to help create guidelines for blogging that the students contribute to more and more as they read more blogs and better understand the genre and become bloggers in their own right. 2) I want to create a constantly changing and evolving definition of culture (as the class is Writing about Society in Culture). Every time we read a theoretical essay on culture or an online definition of it or any text that addresses how a person or field tends to define culture, we revise our class definition.
The first time I had them working in groups (after writing individually their thoughts on a reading regarding culture). Each group would then work on a revision of the defining culture wiki. But a couple of groups started to get into a bit of a struggle over the defintion -- editing much of the other group's work. This, by nature, is how a wiki works and we discussed this in class. But, I fear that they are learning that collaboration is a struggle for power in some way; that the idea of a democratic, collaborative space in which to share knowledge is more about getting in the last word.
I'm thinking that I should have them start using the discussion space to better negotiate the edits being made. We talk about wikipedia and how these kinds of changes and edits happen on this larger scale. And, what I have been doing, is coming together as a class to go over the (for the moment) "final" version and ask students for additional ideas, changes, etc., which we then negotiate as a class. But if anyone has better ideas for negotiating these wiki wars that appear to be breaking out, please feel free to share....