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Week One - Group Task

Defining our terms: websites, blogs or wikis?

CONTRIBUTORS: Nina Liakos, Ana María Rozzi, Paul Beaufait, Lena, Barbara Tous, Linda Neas, Deana Alonso, Daniela, Jose Antonio da Silva, Simon Gill, Pranita, Inez Woortman, Komal Saxena (Vasundhra?), Carla Raguseo, Dennis Oliver, Georgia Jarrell, Tracy, Juanlusz, Betty Burgos, Margaret, Mary H. (compiler) and Gladys Baya (editor)

Kudos to MaryH & GladysB for setting this up!


A website is a collection of webpages belonging to a particular domain or sub-domain on the Internet. Websites may be the work of an individual, an organization or business. They are usually dedicated to some particular topic or purpose.


Visitors can browse through them and consume what they contain (notice some websites require a subscription to access some or all of their content). The visitor expects the website to be fairly static until the next `redesign'. Communication tends to go mostly one-way, with the webmaster “presenting” something to "the world". Common features include the use of (hyper)text, sound, and various types of visuals, as well as the presence of sidebars to make one's way around easier...



Blogs and wikis are special kinds of websites.


A blog is short for 'Web log' and it's a user-generated website, where entries are made journal style and displayed in reverse chronological order. This means that,when you visit it, the first thing you see is the last post its creator made. Several posts may be viewed by scrolling down the long page, and much older posts are archived but still accessible


A blog may be used as a personal online diary (at the beginning, most of them were "too confessional"!), or a place where one or several people (team blogging) can publish news or comments on a particular subject (for example, Stephen Downes' OLDDaily has been reported as the first educational blog ever). Blogs are more interactive than websites, since they usually allow readers to post comments. In ohter words, n a blog you can have conversations with people who are interested in what you have to say!!! It is worth pointing out that changes to posts (entries) can only be made by the poster and the blog's administrator, whereas readers are restricted to the area for comments (and these can be moderated or even deleted or rejected). In that sense, a blog can be said to resemble a message board too.



The term weblog was coined in 1997 by Jorn Barger, who decided to rename his website (Barger, 1997), a weblog, and used the term to refer to websites that are continuously being updated. The verb "to blog" soon followed, as did the term "blogosphere" to describe the ever expanding network of weblogs -“a dynamic place that is connected by time and topic”(Blood, 2000).



A wiki is an interactive, potentially collaborative, website. Content can be edited, modified or added by any user (to become a user, a wiki-wide password is usually, though not always, required). In a wiki, you cannot have a conversation, but you can change what was said! That is why it can be said that what is published on a wiki is never finished, and users might expect a wiki's content to change frequently. A wiki is ideal for collaborative writing (several writers working on one product), and, though it sounds like a recipe for disaster and most first-timers find wikis a bit unsettling, good teams have produced outstanding results so far (just look at this page for an example!). Wikis sometimes include a search engine (as in Wikipedia).


"A wiki is...: a radically hypertextual, incrementally updateable web site, a weblog on steroids" (Tomei & Lavin, 2006).


We might draw a parallelism between each of these environments and patterns of interaction in classes or groups:


Websites -- teachers' lecturing (traditional teaching);

Blogs -- teacher-student or student-student interactions (dialogue, pair work and cooperation); &

Wikis -- classes as a whole or small groups (fostering group learning and collaboration).







On the whole, websites are products of Web 1.0, or the readable web, in which mainly tech-savvy authors and webmasters publish information and manipulate design features. Although websites are very useful for conveying information and announcements, they may have limited applications for educational purposes, especially if educators wish to foster communication and interpersonal interaction among learners.


Blogs and wikis are, instead, the offspring of web 2.0, or the readable/write-able web, which allows users to create, publish, edit and share content individually or collaboratively on the web, by adapting design features to meet their own needs as well as those of their audiences.


Adaptation is an essential factor for educators who wish to personalize and tailor spaces for class interactions. Especially for teaching, creators of blogs and wikis may expect to build communities of participants, and their sites then become more interactive (unlike traditional, non-blog, non-wiki websites). Moreover, educators may think of site maintenance less in terms of redesign phases, and more in terms of frequents updates and elaborations.




Barger, John. (1997). [Perhaps a reference to:] Robot wisdom weblog. Retrieved January 23, 2007, from http://www.robotwisdom.com/


Blood, Rebecca. (2000). [Perhaps a reference to:] Weblogs: A history and perspective. In: Rebecca's Pocket, 07 September. Retrieved January 23, 2007, from

http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html [Found through cross-reference in: Kylie Jarrett (2004), Battlecat then, Battlecat now: Temporal shifts, hyperlinking and database subjectivities. Retrieved January 23, 2007 from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/battlecat_then_battlecat_now.html]


Tomei, J., & Lavin, R. (2006). Autonomy Arising from Community: Experiences with Weblogs and Wikis [Keynote (trademark) presentation]. Kumamoto University: January 14, 2006.




Find our participants' original posts

Participant Answers

Comments (11)

Anonymous said

at 10:35 am on Jan 20, 2007

My favorite part is where the types of classroom interaction are compared w/ blog, wiki, and website. For educators, I think this analogy works really well. Kudos to everyone for their contributions!

Anonymous said

at 6:35 pm on Jan 20, 2007

Dear contributors, Mary and Gladys, You've done a great job. The defining of website, blog and wiki has been made on professional basis. It helps a lot to understand the difference between these three tools and purposes they serve.
Thank you again.

Anonymous said

at 2:04 pm on Jan 21, 2007

Thank you. Reading and commenting in this page has enlightened my understanding of a wiki. I was more familiar with websites and blogs and was not really sure how wikis worked and what was the difference between them.

Susan Ryan said

at 3:30 pm on Jan 21, 2007

Like Ana Maria, I needed clarification about wikis. Thanks to the group I have a better understanding now. My current dilemna is how to get students more involved in "leading" the discussions on blogs and wikis.
As Mary said, the analogy works well!

Anonymous said

at 7:48 am on Jan 22, 2007

I hadn't realized that "read web" and "read/write web" in the DefiningBlogs conclusion matched references "in resources and bibliography concerning the Web 2.0" (Our wiki + read/write web, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bloggingforbeginners/message/740).

If you'd like to revert from "readable" and "read/write-able," that's fine with me.

Gladys said

at 6:18 pm on Jan 22, 2007

I'd think it better to update the content of this page in response to Carla R's well-documented post (link just referred to by Paul on this page). The sources mentioned should be added to our references on the DefiningBlogs page too... Volunteers?

Anonymous said

at 10:39 pm on Jan 22, 2007

Boy I really like the idea that participants can edit and change material on wikis. I think it could be a cool class project for a language class.

Anonymous said

at 10:40 pm on Jan 22, 2007

that was me Dorinda Contreras....I didn't mean to make it anonymous. hahahaha I guess that shows what a neophite I am. hugs all

Anonymous said

at 1:24 pm on Jan 23, 2007

Dorinda, Kudos to you for clicking "comment" and venturing into the B4B wiki world! I agree, wikis are a fabulous tool for the language classroom and beyond. Just look at how much our group has created together already!

Anonymous said

at 3:48 pm on Jan 27, 2007

This is my first time "on" a wiki so I don't dare try and modify content; if I did I'd slightly alter the excellent parallel example of websites/blogs/wikis and teaching situations, since blogs and wikis are "special types of websites" (subsets). Now I'm getting really curious about exampes of linked blogs and wikis for language teaching (in addition to this one, of course!

Anonymous said

at 3:52 pm on Jan 27, 2007

Questions for you Blognerds above:
How did some of you get your names in blue?
And why (and how) do some blue names link to your e-mails, while others link to your blogs (only Administrators, is this a coincidence)?

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