Can a Wiki Replace a University Web Site?

Brock Read at The Chronicle asked the question Can Wikis Replace the University Web Site? recently.

She was talking about Wikia, a collection of communal Web sites founded by the creator of Wikipedia. They offer a service so that a college can set up its own wiki.

Unlike a public wiki, these can be read by any surfer, but they can only be edited by the college's students, faculty and staff members.

Institutions like Pennsylvania State University and Boston College already have Wikia sites.

So, can they replace a university website? Sure, but it will be one lousy website. As anyone working (or trying to) working with a content management system for a campus website knows, there's just too much content that a wiki can't handle cleanly - media files, interactive forms, payment gateways etc.

Still, I think colleges should be experimenting with wikis. I refer you back a few entries to my posting about the Smart Campus Wiki at NJIT as an example.


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