• Make a new space. The spaces will be edited by a set group of people, not by the public. If you choose to let anyone edit the site there will be little control over what goes on.

One thing to consider when starting up a wiki is try the idea gradually. It is a big step to be passively instead of actively involved in creating information. This requires a change in mind-set. So, try small changes in some wiki pages e.g. adding headings, inserting images and videos. Then get others to practice making small changes - even adding their name to a page can be a start.

Before using your wiki you need to populate it with information. This provides an example of how to interact with the wiki, and guidelines on what others should be doing. We want everyone to get involved! Here are suggestions on how to set up your wiki for the first time.

  • Create an organized structure for your site by adding several pages to accommodate different subject areas. For example, you may want to separate by subject area, or by grade level, depending on your particular needs. The bottom line is, when someone wants to submit resources, they need to know where those resources belong.

  • Add rules for use to the front page so that all will know to follow the correct Wiki Etiquette and that the material is suitable for the environment. It is important to make sure others know that all will be watched for the material they post and that it is not derogatory or unsuitable in any way.

  • Add assignments and instructions on the front page. We encourage you to treat your wiki front page as a short, introductory page with links to other pages. Type a few bullet points and create links to the pages (to link, edit a page, select the text, and click "Insert Link"). If you have handouts, create a page called "Handouts" and upload the files there.

The only way a Wiki will work is through collaboration and sharing. If no one uses the site, you won't get any submissions, and the site will be useless. You can promote your site in whatever way you see fit. Send out emails. Give incentives. For example, the person that submits the most innovative materials will get a prize! You have to explain what the site is intended for, and get them to understand the need and use for collaboration. This is essential for the success of your Wiki.

  • Use your sidebar for a table of contents. Educators love the Sidebar, which is the box on the side of the page. Click "Edit this" and you'll be able to use the Sidebar as a table of contents that appears on every page. Many educators use their Sidebar to list their project teams for easy navigation.

  • Create lots of pages to avoid edit collisions. Two people can't edit the same page at the same time. Instead, create lots of pages: Create a page for each project. Even consider creating a page for each person where they can save all the stuff they find. With lots of pages, your wiki becomes more usable.

You don't even need to create all of the pages. Work out some of the pages you need and create links to them in the side bar or in a table on a main page. You could use it as an incentive to make the first contribution to the page (thus creating it).

For some having them create their own 'front' or first page, all about them is a great way to get them involved. Others may love to upload images and videos to show off their interests.

  • Encourage collaboration by setting up project pages and encouraging cross-linking. Even if the others are primarily using their own pages, they can take advantage of the collaborative nature of a wiki by linking to project pages, to school or library resources, and to each other's pages.

  • Give everyone a place to play. Everyone needs a place where they can experiment with colors, fonts, uploading pictures, videos, etc. It doesn't have to be school-related, maybe a place where they can introduce themselves or educate others about something they're interested in personally. These can be the "MySpace" pages. If others are posting pictures or names, you should consider making the wiki private.

  • Monitor Your Site. As an option, you may choose to monitor your site with email updates when a page changes. I highly recommend you do this. That way, you can continue to monitor the page easily, and correct any mistakes before they become out of control. It is important for one person to monitor the site for organizational control. Too many cooks can really spoil the broth on this one!

If you follow the advice above, you should have a great tool to use for years to come. As time passes, your Wiki will grow and become an important tool for collaboration.