Wikify Our Web Site?

What if we applied wiki concepts to our public-facing web site? Could we harness power of the commons to build a better present ourselves to our core audiences? Considering that most of these audiences are people already in our school community, this idea could have potential.

There exist many intermediate steps between controlling all of the content ourselves and opening it up completely to the entire world.

  • Encourage faculty and staff members to manage site content (as we currently do).
  • Include parent and student contributions (as we currently do on our internal web site).

  • Allow any community member to edit a site page, but review the submission before publishing it.
  • Allow any community member to edit a site page and immediately publish it.
  • Allow any member of the public to edit site content.

Could we take a step or two toward a community-generated school web site?

Update 1/9/2008: Dearborn Public Schools (Michigan) has done it.

3 comments

  1. Mark Ahlness says:

    Richard, I would really, really encourage you to move your web site to a wiki. It’s a long story, but my school just made the official change over a few months ago: http://arborheights.com will get you there. It was a wide open wiki for over two years. It eventually replaced one of the earliest school websites on the internet (links to old content are on the imagemap, bottom, of the wiki). Good luck – Mark

  2. Richard says:

    Thank you for sharing your site, Mark. it’s great to hear that you have done this successfully. It’s definitely worth consideration and even a try.

    In a school with a Communications department, it’s more challenging to make the leap, because we have paid staff members who work on crafting a readable, compelling message for our audiences. Commenting might be an intermediate step to encourage people to participate in crafting the content.

    Have you succeeded in getting community members to participate in editing content on the main, descriptive pages about the school program?

    Richard

  3. Stephanie Sandifer says:

    Hi Richard,

    I’ve been looking for schools (and districts) who have embarked on wikification of their websites and some of the links and resources that I have found might be helpful to you. I created a wiki to not only share what I have found, but to also (hopefully) collect additional resources from people who may contribute to the wiki: http://wikifiedschools.com

    I hope you find something in there that is helpful — and — as you start doing this, please feel free to share your successes and your "lessons learned" on the wiki so that others can learn from your experiences.

    Stephanie