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Bonkian Research on Wikibookians and YouTubians: Take our YouTube video survey at:
Thursday, August 30, 2007
1. Wikibookian Research Results: My Wiki-RIKI ("Wikis for Research on Intercultural Knowledge and Interactivity") research team (see and I just wrapped up a study of 80 Wikibookians (i.e., those who edit, write, or contribute to Wikibooks) from the Wikibooks Website (see and sent off a paper for review and hopefully publication. Here are a few of our interesting statistics (you will have to read the paper for more--some of which is at the Wiki-RIKI site): Wikibookians tend to be men (97 percent in our study) who are under the age of 35 (83 percent; only 5 percent over age 51). In addition, roughly half do not yet possess a 4 year college degree. Nearly 1 in 5 were under age 18, so that is not too surprising.

Depsite pervasive criticisms of incomplete books at the Wikibooks website, most respondents deemed their most recent Wikibook activity as successful and that a Wikibook could be completed. While the development of a Wikibook was a challenge, in terms of coordination, few were frustrated with the Wikibooks environment and nearly everyone felt that a Wikibook type of environment that promoted online collaboration. For instance, one participant stated that “…people can work together on a wiki and come up with a result that is better than something written by one or a couple of "experts." …There is not one person in charge who can make the hard decisions that everyone will respect.”

There are many things one can do to contribute to a Wikibook and make a difference in the world. For instance, some Wikibookians perceive themselves as authors who write chapters or modules, others as readers who lend feedback to others, and still others as coordinators or contributors to a Wikibook project. No matter the role, few claim ownership over their final Wikibook product(s)--a Wikibook is a community created and used product. It is a prime example of participatory learning. In regards to their motivation to create a Wikibook, most were interested in making a learning contribution and sharing knowledge as well as personal growth, not a publishing outlet. These are young people making an attempt to better the world! Finally, from their perspectives, a Wikibook environment lends itself well to sociocultural learning pursuits since it entails informal learning (not formal) and is geared for collaboration, exploration, self-discovery, and socially interactive learning situations (see sociocultural pedagogical ideas from Alex Bruns and Sal Humphreys: Bruns, A., & Humphreys, S. (2005). Wikis in teaching and assessment: The M/Cyclopedia project. Paper presented at the WikiSym 2005. Retrieved March 5, 2006, from ).

A Wikibook stands in stark contrast to the forms of writing to which I was exposed growing up a Catholic grade school oh so long ago. Collaboration when writing my 5 paragraph essays? Negotiating ideas with others? Changing anyone text without them knowing? Working with people all over the globe?

Face it--wiki environments such as Wikibooks foster a new form of learning and human knowledge generation and interaction; one in which anyone who has the time, insights, and inclination can participate in. Wikibookians are part of this change toward a participatory learning society--through analysis of Wikibook document history as well as Wikibookian interviews, surveys, focus groups, etc., we are provided with a window into online collaborative writing, idea or knowledge generation and negotiation processes, and the modfication, extension, and use of such knowledge. You will have to wait for our final journal article to be published for more or see the Wiki-RIKI site for our conference paper from AERA as well as Wikibook-related papers from Dwight Allen's team at Old Dominion University.

Future Wikibook Research: We will soon conduct a 2nd phase of this Wikibookian research and explore the apprenticeship process in becoming a Wikibookian. There is research on how one becomes a Wikipedian (see Bryant, S. L., Forte, A., & Bruckman, A. (2005). Becoming Wikipedian: Transformation of participation in a collaborative online encyclopedia. In M. Pendergast, K. Schmidt, G. Mark, & M. Acherman (Eds.); Proceedings of the 2005 International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work, GROUP 2005, Sanibel Island, FL, November 6-9, pp. 1-10. Retrieved February 7, 2007, from

Now we will follow-up that research by looking at Wikibookian apprenticeship. We hope to extend our sample size, of course. My Wiki-RIKI research team is also exploring 2 Wikibook projects in my class this semester; one on learning theories: the Practice of Learning Theories (POLT) and one on "Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies (WELT). These should be fun since we have colleagues at other universities participating. So, let me know if you want to join up!

2. Current YouTubian Research: Before we do that, I am now exploring educational and motivational aspects of popular YouTube videos in a study to which anyone can contribute: This is a video survey research--the type of research that is perhaps more in line with the Web 2.0. And, yes, you can contribute! Just click on the survey link and watch a YouTube video embedded in a survey and answer some questions about the Web 2.0 and participatory learning. Why do people watch, share, subscribe to, or create them? What instructional design factors make them more or less appealing? Why do people comment on them? etc. This research study just started and you can help by taking 10-15 minutes to complete one of them. In return, you will be entered into a drawing for free iPhones and iPods. In addition, you will get to use SurveyShare Pro yourself and create unlimited surveys for 90 days for FREE!!!

Ok, final reminder--you can YouTube too! Whether you are a YouTubian or not, you can take our survey on one of 60 of the most popular YouTube video surveys at (some are educational videos, some entertainment, some political, some are sports related, some comedy, some are on emerging technologies, etc.). Take a random survey on one of these and get a chance to win an iPhone and an iPod. We hope to post some results soon!!!!!!
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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 6:50 AM  
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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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Click here for information about my recent book, The World is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.

Visit the Indiana University Home Page of E-Learning Expert Curtis J. Bonk.

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