REQUEST: Polling PWS Use

Bijan Parsia bparsia at
Mon Jun 29 16:32:29 UTC 1998

At 11:17 AM -0400 6/29/98, Mark Guzdial wrote:

>Hi Folks!  I'd like to get a sense of what people are doing with PWS and
>PWS-based applications such as Swiki.  My motivation is two-fold, and both
>mercenary :-)
>- It's tenure packet time, and I'd like to be able to say something about
>where these tools are being used and for what.

Good luck!

>- I'm working on a paper on educational uses of Swiki's due Aug. 1, and I
>would like to be able to say something about uses of Swiki's in educational
>settings but outside of our campus.

Cool! Can I contribute ;)

>If you are using PWS, could you please drop me a personal note (rather than
>posting to the list) at guzdial at  I'd like to know
>(0) What organization are you with?

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

>(1) What are you using PWS for?

Running Swikis.

>(2) If you're using it in an education context, what classes are you using
>it in?

I used it for an Introduction to Philosophy class last term. I'll use it in
the fall for a Bioethics class. I used to require 4-10 "ultra-short"
assignments (single page; test a skill/check reading comprehension/etc.).
I'm going to move to requiring a certain level of Swiki contribution, plus
extra credit for work beyond that.

>(3) (Whether or not you're in an educational context) What's your sense of
>how the use of PWS is working?  Is it successful?  Will you continue to use
>it?  If unsuccessful, I'd also appreciate feedback on how it's not working
>and why.

I think it's great! I haven't been working on it recently because I was
waiting to see if UNC would pay me to hack it. It probably won't :( So I'll
start up again. It's a *great* tool.

I want a form generator! That's on my list.

I also started up a Swiki for the Casbah project
<>, an open-source project to produce a
multi-user content managment system (initially inspired by Frontier). I'm
learning some things about how Swiki's work from it, and what I'll need to
change (yes, I'll tell you more, later, I'm swamped right now ;)

I'm also seriously considering using Swiki-esque technology to manage my
own research. I find it a liberating way to write.

>(4) Finally, if I may quote directly from your note, please let me know
>that directly.  I'd appreciate being able to cite people directly.

Absolutely Mark! And any other note I sent.

You did get my tech grant report, didn't you? (Where I coined the phrase
"minimally intrustive technology"?) I thought it was rather nice,
especially the contrast between social vs. technological solutions to
"learning technology" design problems. If you don't have it/lost it let me
know and I'll resend it.


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