Setup an "Educational Wiki"

Posted by Helmut_pdorf on 18 Sep 2011 17:42, last edited by leiger on 05 Dec 2016 01:42

Tags: class course educational private students teachers

rating: +1+x

A) Why a howto about setup for an Educational Wiki?

There is a special offer from Wikidot for schools, universities, teachers and students - see details here!:

1. The Educational status of your site

can give you extra:

  • unlimited number of members even if your site is private
  • 25 GB for file uploads, each file up to 100 MB, more storage per request
  • SSL security
  • unlimited number of revisions per page
  • other small improvements

The Educational sites are absolutely free for educational / research purposes. Please create your site, enter Site Manager and look for Educational upgrade.

Please note that you need to be Master Administrator of the Site to apply for the educational status.

2. Who is eligible:

  • educators, researchers, school and academic teachers using Wikidot for research purposes or communicating with students
  • students and pupils for any activity associated with school or academic projects
  • the educational upgrade of individual sites cannot be combined with premium account upgrades

3. Site manager - Welcome screen:

Holds in the left bottom the link to the educational upgrade .
Notice this is only avaibale on "Free Sites".


4. Educational Upgrade screen

( in the site manager Welcome see above))


B) Legal considerations

The main issue in this section is the questin how to make the students and their personal data most secure as possible against public viewing
And of course the data of the teachers too.

= > This is easy: make your Wiki (the site) "PRIVATE" ( Site manager - setup).
(see also the handbook: Site-Manager Access-Policy)


a) Pro "private" wikis:

No one except the members of this wiki ( teachers & students) can view the content of the pages.
Only one "Landing page" is defined in the site manager-setup for unauthorized visitors to explain what the wiki is about.
No seacrh machine like google or yahoo or bing orothers have a chance to see the pages in that wiki except the landing page.
which is not neccessarily the start/welcome/home page.

b) Contra private" wikis:

under normal circumstances is the number of members in "private" sites owned (= normally created) by free accounts limited to 5 members - except such "private" site has an educational status" - than this number is unlimited!

1. "private category" for "person" pages

( or call it "student")
Means every member( teacher&students) have their own "person"-page with their "user-id" in the categroy "person:" - which is set to "private" in the site manager - permissions by switching off ALL check-boxes except the "creator"):
  • Using the page name syntax "person:user-id" created by the member her-/himself.
  • Holds the "private personal data like email-adress (!) birth day, REAL name , Adress , telephon number a,s,o. -all data which can be important for the Admin!
  • In the setup of possible "per page discussions" in the site manager ( in the "forum" ) this category should not be allowed for any comment.. this comment is positioned in the forum groupd "hidden threads" and is always viewable in the hidden groups for all members which can find it…
  • remember: the "Title" of this page can be the real name… but this title is viewable in all listings of pages!

Notice - this is technically not neccessary, but a good secure way to hide the personal data.. if you and your students trust each other you do not need such private category.

a) Pro private "person" pages

using the page name "person:user-id" created by the member her-/himself)
Only the admin(=teacher) and the creator can view such pages.
Here is the place where the admin or the sstudents can communicate with each other in a private way: they can append (write) some lines at the end of the page which are onyl viewable for the other part.
The Wikidot Private Message system ( PM) over the account-screen or user-id info screen is possible too, but can be overwhelming after a while.. ( and there is sometimes the history difficult to find). n such "person:user-id" page the history is allways available.

b) Contra private "person" pages

1. There is no live template possible for such pages - created by the admin the other members are not allowed to use/view it
2. The content is therefore free in the layout to key in by every member ….you can only use an (old) "template:person" page with the first (standard) text inserted - the category "template" is normally open for viewing for the members.
3. Only the admin(=teacher) and the creator can view such pages. This can be disturbing in the communication sometimes.

2. Public category for "member" pages

Like the person pages there is ONE page per student/teacher in the category "member" to allow her/him a page with important messages,statements like a "static blog", but only on one page ( if there is a real "blog" wanterd than an extra blog site can be created from the students).
The idea behind this is the public status of such page to give the chance for a "per page discussion" or "Comment block" in the live member:_template
where "public" discussions can start from one student alone. ( always bound to his user-id in the threads).
Setup is done in the site manager by swithing on the "Page edit buttons" for the "creator" only ( and all admins autiomatically).)

3. Forum Groups per course,year

In the site manapger the forum setup allows a lot of groups and categories to divide the communication in usefull sections.

C) What are the possible scenarios?

a) 1 teacher with 1 class/course

The easiest setup - there is no problem to show (inside the wiki) all content to all members ( except the person" pages).

b) 1 teacher with 2 - nn classes/courses

Here it is a little bit difficult:
either there is (because of personal data security) an extra wiki neccessary ( per course, Year, Claas) -
or it has to be clear and approved by all - all students can see the content of all courses/year ( which is often the content of the last year for them)

Only the Forum-Groups should be divided into different Groups per class - and the direct links to the categories/threads in this different groups should be put into the menues ( side or top).

c) 1 class(/year) wir th 2-nn teachers(courses)

The same private problem other way round:

all the teachers has to be admins to see the private "person" pages viewable onyl for the creators and the admins. This is not a legal issue but a philosophical one….

D) How is this all setup done?

a) Create a "landing page"for unauthorised visitors

1. See the image of the setup of "private sites in the site manager above on point B) Legal considerations
2. Key the name of this page into the site manager - setup and explain on this page what the wiki is about
3. Put a "join this site" button on this page to allow new students of your class to join. ( by applicatikon or per password they have gotten per mail)
See also the documentation:

[[module Join button="Join this site, it is cool!"]]

Notice - for all registered (and signed in) and "joined" members this button is not viewable!"

b) Create the (non-public) start page

for inernal use only - this is only viewable for members of the site ( the private status of the wiki!)
See also the first image - where in the "General settings" this Start Page can be defined.

c) Create a (non-public) start page for New Member

See also the second image - where in the "General settings" this landing page ("welcome for new members") can be defined.
Do not forget to lead the newcomers on the (non-public) Site-Home page over a linik to this start page which can explains what you are awaiting from them on there "own" pages:

  • Put a "new page button" on this page for new members to create their "person" page automatically in the "person:" category
  • Put a "new page button" on this page for new members to create their "member" page automatically in the "member:" category

using this source code for inserting a newpage button ( see also

++++ Add a new Person page
[[module NewPage template="template:person" category="person" button="Create a person page" parent="person-overview" mode="save-and-refresh"]]

Using the "template:person" (( should exist) and the category should be allowed to view for all members) you can insert automatically a standard text source into the new page to be filled by the new members.
Using the parent="…" attribute you can define which parent page ( should exist) are to be set automatically
Using the mode="save-and-refresh" attribute you can define what should happen and be shown after the creation.

d) Setup the Forum

Have a look on our howto: Forum:Step by Step which explains the single steps to create the different forum-groups (per class perhaps?) and inside this groups the catgories ( technical, content, design, Help a.s.o.)
Have a look on our Community Forum how we did this!

e) Site-template

Since 19.9.2011 there is the possibility to use a site-template as a clone at the creation step of a new wiki, but an educational wiki is not yet existent here.
There are on irongiant site a lot of templates to clone by a site creation ….I will try to create a template-site to clone on this place
( see also [ ] )

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