Wikibooks in higher education: Empowerment through online distributed collaboration

Gilad Ravid, Yoram M. Kalman, Sheizaf Rafaeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this case study, wiki technology was applied to the development of an introductory academic textbook on information systems. While the development, production and distribution of traditional textbooks are influenced by commercial interests, the wikitextbook was developed collaboratively by faculty and by students, and was made available online free of charge. After about two years of activity, the wikitextbook accumulated 564 sub-chapters, co-authored by undergraduate and graduate students in more than 20 classes offered by seven academic departments across three Israeli universities. We discuss the potential of wikitextbooks as vehicles of empowerment to students, teachers, and the discipline. This type of collaborative online technology intimates an influence on the status-quo in academic education in favor of less empowered stakeholders. However, caution is advised in drawing premature conclusions from results reported here. The implementation of wikitextbook should be augmented by a careful study of cultural, societal, behavioral and pedagogic variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1913-1928
Number of pages16
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The wikitextbook project was supported by a research grant from the Israel Internet Association.


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • E-book
  • Education
  • Empowerment
  • Wiki


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