You may request a Wiki tool for your Etudes class. See the Tool Request form in the Users Group (left menu).

What is a Wiki?

A Wiki is a tool which allows people to create web pages individually or as a group, without needing any web skills.

Using the Wiki tool, you can create and update web pages within your worksite. The Wiki tool is designed and developed at the Centre for Applied Research into Educational Technology (CARET) at Cambridge University in United Kingdom and made available to the higher education community.

For those familiar with wiki technologies, the Wiki tool is based on the Radeox Wiki engine. This engine is also used by SnipSnap, Wikipedia, Confluence and other similar wikis. The basic markup is similar. You will find a complete set of markup on the HelpPage that is present in every wiki space.

Why would I want to use it?

A Wiki page can be set up to allow a number of people to work on producing a document together, e.g to draft research proposals as a team. Students can also use Wiki pages to work on projects as a team.

For teaching purposes instructors might want to produce a Wiki page, as a way of publishing lecture notes or course guidance for students to read but not edit.

The big advantage to the user is that Wiki pages can be quickly edited and saved, and the results seen straight away: there is no delay waiting for changes and page edits to be updated. And you don’t need to know any HTML code.

Use Case – Collaborative Writing

There are many ways to use a Wiki. Here is one example.

Professor Smith is the instructor of an undergraduate course in Economics of Developing Countries.

Professor Smith requires students, working in groups of 3, to choose one of 4 developing countries (Brazil, India, Nigeria and South Africa) and write together an assessment of that country’s economic development over the last 3 decades.

Professor Smith decides that a wiki would be an appropriate tool to facilitate students, collaboratively, writing their assessments. Previously this type of exercise had been done with Word documents using track changes, but that required lots of emailing revised documents around, and made it hard for students to work on their group assignments at the same time.

What is the difference between Wiki pages and web pages?

Wiki pages are not truly “public”, like pages on the World Wide Web—they will only be available to members of your site unless you choose otherwise. It is possible to make your web pages accessible to the outside world, if you wish.

Create a New Wiki

When you first click on the Wiki tool, there is no existing content.

To edit (or create) the contents of a page, select the ‘Edit’ button at the top of the page.

You will see your page appear as an editable version in a text box. Initially the only text that appears is the default text, and the associated formatting commands used to make the page display as you saw it.

You can delete the words within the text box to create a blank page and then add new content by typing within the text box or by cutting and pasting from another document.

Then select the ‘Save’ button at the bottom of the page. Your changes will now appear in the Wiki page.

Edit a Wiki Page

When you create new text in Wiki, use the Wiki formatting commands to make it display the way you want. These are symbols that when inserted as shown, make the text appear in a certain way. Select ‘edit’ from the action bar at the top of the screen.
Commonly used symbols that you can use are shown to the right of the editable page.


While editing, if you accidentally delete information, it is possible to get it back. Wiki has a “History” function that records all changes made and allows you to revert back to a previous version of your page.

If you want to preview your changes before you save them, you can select the ‘Preview’ button at the bottom of the page.

Your new page will be displayed at the bottom of the page, under the editable text box (you will need to scroll down to see it).

If you want to cancel without making any changes, select the ‘Cancel’ button.

Preview Wiki Pages

Selecting the ‘preview’ button below the text box and scrolling down, will reveal how the text will look on the Wiki page when it is saved.

The screen shot  below show what happens when you insert some of the formatting commands provided and select ‘preview’ to observe your changes.

There are some ‘short cuts’ to commonly used commands at the top of the page. To use these, simple highlight the text to which you wish to apply the command using click and drag with your mouse as usual. Then click on the command (e.g. bold). You will see that the formatting commands we used above to make text bold (__bold___) will be inserted into the text.

Wikis with Multiple Pages

A new page is created when you make a link to it from an existing page. For example, if you do not already have a page called ‘page 1’, typing ‘[page 1]’ will create a new, empty page called ‘page 1’.

When you save your changes, the link you have just created will appear with a question mark next to it: ‘page 1?’ when saved or preview.

The question mark shows that the Wiki page contains a link to a new page that has not had any content added yet. Clicking on this link takes you to the new page. Select the ‘Edit’ button at the top of the page to add content, preview, and save changes in the normal way.

You should not use the following characters in the name of a Wiki page as they all have specific meanings and are in essence commands.:

  • : Colon
  • @ At
  • # Hash
  • | Pipe
  • \ Back-Slash

Moving from Page to Page in Wikis

Our Wiki tool does not have a separate menu to navigate through the pages. All navigation must be done through links on the pages. However, you can use the “Home” link to return to the Wiki Home page for your site, at any time. If you can’t find the page you are looking for, you can search for it using the Search box.

To move from page to page in Wiki, follow the links within each page. Links with an arrow icon beside them link to external websites or to file attachments. Clicking on these will open them in a new window.

As you navigate around Wiki, your breadcrumb trail will appear at the top of the page. (A breadcrumb trail lists the pages that you have visited, in order as shown in the screen shot below.) You can use this to return to any page at any time by clicking on the name of the page you want to go to.

If you create a new page, it is a good idea to include a link back to the previous page. That will allow your users to navigate “backwards”, as well as “forwards”. However, you can always use the “Home” link to return to the Wiki home page.

{index} typed in a Wiki page in the edit mode will provide a clickable list of all the pages in the Wiki.

Search for Pages

To search for a specific Wiki page, word, or phrase, type your search term in the search box and press ‘return’. All pages on that Wiki site containing your search terms will be listed. Don’t forget that pages which are not in the Wiki will not be searched. This includes other CamTools pages (e.g. Schedule, Syllabus) and attachments to the Wiki.

Changing the default Wiki page

The “default_template” page is used as the template for each new page that you create. You can customize this page to suit your own needs. For example, you can include a structure for students creating their own project pages, or can remove all the text so that new pages are created empty.

To change the “default_template” page

  1. Find the page called “default_template” by using the wiki search tool.

  2. Edit the “default_template” page as you would with any other Wiki page.

Creating a right-hand column on your Wiki

You can create a column which will appear on the right hand side of every page in your Wiki. For example, you can provide a navigation menu, an image, or an index.

To create this column,

  1. Find the page called “view_right” by using the wiki search tool.

  2. Edit the “view_right” page as you would with any other wiki page.

  3. If the “view_right” page contains any content, it will be displayed in a column to the right of every page (you won’t see it when editing a page, though).

  4. If the page is empty, no column will displays on the right.

Creating an Automatic Index of Pages

Typing {index} (including the curly brackets) in any page will create an automatically updated index of pages for your wiki.

The Recent Changes List

To create an automatically updated list of the recently changed pages in your wiki, you can use the recent-changes macro.

To do this, type {recent-changes} (with the curly brackets) into any page.
In page view, you will see an list of the recently changed pages in your Wiki, together with the name of the person who last changed the page and the date and time of the change.

By default, it shows all the pages changed in the last 30 days. To change the time and date limits for page display, include a time / date setting using the following examples:

  • {recent-changes:12h} – recently changed pages in the last 12 hours.

  • {recent-changes:7d} – recently changed pages in the last 7 days.

  • {recent-changes:2006-12-25} – recently changed pages since 25 Dec, 2006.

Making wiki pages viewable to the public

You can make individual wiki pages viewable to the public (that is, to people who are not logged in to your site). To do this, you will need to first edit the permissions so that a page is publicly viewable, and then share the web address with the public.

Explain the problem about having to change each page perms separately.

Explain you can do this via default_template perms, but then you will have to switch them all off individually.

Setting Permissions

When you first access your Wiki Tool, the permissions are probably not set up to allow students to edit pages. That’s fine if you want to be the only one to add content to these pages.

However, if you want students to add content to wiki pages, you’ll need to set the permissions differently. It’s very simple. Just follow these steps:

On your wiki home page, insert a new page (enclose some words in the [ ] brackets) and save.

When you return to the home page, click on the new link to open that page.

The new page appears. It says it doesn’t exist, but obviously it does.

Look, there is a link (or two) to take you to the default template, which is what we want to alter, so click on that link.

The only thing you’ll see to indicate that you’re now on the default template page is the links at the top. In the example it says Home > Alter Page.

After clicking on the link, it says Home > Alter Page > Default_Template.

Now that you’re on the Default Template page, click on the Info link at the top of the page.

In the little table: Page Permissions by role, there probably is NOT a checkmark in the Update column for Enable/Disable on this page.

Simply click once in that box to put in the checkmark, and then click the Save button at the bottom of the table. That’s it. Now when new pages are created, students should be able to edit them.

You can return to your home page by clicking on the Home link at the top. You can delete the page you inserted at the start of the process if you don’t want it.

By changing the default template settings, this change will affect all new pages you create. Permissions for each page of your Wiki can be set individually, however. Just go to a particular page and click Info for that page to set that page’s permissions differently from the default settings.


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