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Wikis are a simple, flexible tool for collaboration. They can be used for everything from simple lists of web links to building entire encyclopedias. Wikipedia is the largest wiki in the world http://

The Wiki activity features include:

  • Enabling document pages to be authored collectively. 
  • Supports groups.

Wiki Capabilities

Wiki capabilities enables you to allow your users to engage with the wiki in different ways. There are three wiki-specific capabilities:

Edit wiki pages: This allows a user to add or delete content from pages within the wiki. Learners have this capability allowed by default, but you could use it to restrict editing after a certain date.

Manage wiki settings: This allows a user to edit the settings for the wiki (all the options we’ve described above).

Override locked pages: When a page is edited by someone, the wiki locks the page so multiple people can’t edit the same page at the same time (which would mean the last person to save their changes would overwrite the first person’s work). Sometimes, however, a learner will open a page for editing, but forget to save his changes. This will keep the page locked for other learners for an unreasonable amount of time. A user with this capability can override the lock, freeing the page for editing by someone else.

Creating a Wiki Activity

To create a wiki:
  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Select Wiki from the Add an activity... dropdown menu.
  3. Enter the wiki name, this appears on the course page for learners.
  4. Customise the available settings as required, see Wiki Settings to learn more.
  5. Click Save and display (or Save and return to course).

Wiki Settings

Wiki nameThe name you give to your wiki here will appear as the link on the course page for your learners to click.-
Wiki descriptionExplain the purpose of your wiki here.This description may or may not be compulsory depending on your admin's settings)

Display description on course page

If this box is checked, then the description you added above will appear with the wiki link on the course page.-
First page nameThe name you add here will form the first page of your new wiki.-
Wiki mode

Choose between:

  • Individual wiki: Where each learner gets their own.
  • Collaborative wiki: Where learners work together on a single wiki.

Default format

Set the default type of editing your wiki will use. Chooose from:

  • HTML: Editing using the normal text editor.
  • Creole: A popular wiki editing language. If this is selected, a small editing toolbar will appear.
  • NWiki: A wiki editing language used in the contributed NWiki module.
Force formatIf you check this box then students cannot choose their own method of editing the wiki.-

Common module settings

See Common module settings to learn more.

Activity completion

See Activity Completion to learn more.

Restrict access

See Restrict Access to learn more.


See Tags to learn more. 

Using a Wiki

Adding more pages

  1. Type the name of your page inside double brackets. [[new page name here]] You can preview it by clicking the preview button towards the bottom of the screen.
  2. Click Save.
  3. Now click the (red) link for one of the pages and you will be prompted to create the page.
  4. A page once created has a blue link.

Wiki editing in general

Depending on the type of the wiki, there are several ways to edit your page. But don't worry: The best thing about a wiki is that nothing gets lost. The old version will be there and if someone changes your version of the page, your version will also be there. Note that the options for editing, commenting viewing history, map, and files may all be accessed both from tabs at the top and links in the navigation block:


The View tab at the top or link in the navigation block allows users to display and view the wiki page.


The Edit tab at the top or link in the navigation block allows users to edit the wiki page.


The Comments tab at the top or link in the navigation block allows users to see and add comments about the wiki.


  • The History tab at the top or link in the navigation block allows users to see what has been altered in the wiki.
  • Compare edits by clicking the 'Compare Selected' button.

  • Click the 'Restore' button of the version you wish to restore if the latest edit is unsuitable.


The Map tab at the top or link in the navigation block allows users to view areas of the wiki such as a list of pages, updated or orphaned pages etc. (Orphaned pages are pages not linked to anywhere).

To select what you want to see, click the Map menu drop-down box.


The Files tab at the top or link in the navigation block allows users to access any files which have been added to the wiki.

By default, the Teacher role can add and manage files to the Files tab, but the Student role can only view them. You could change this though with a permissions override to the Manage wiki files capability (mod/wiki:managefiles) in any particular wiki.


The Administration tab at the top or link in the navigation block is available to editing teachers in the course so they can delete page versions or selected pages. Clicking the 'list all' button will list available pages to delete. The first page of the wiki cannot be deleted.

Deleting pages

Teachers and other users with the mod/wiki:managewiki capability can delete any page or page version, with the exception of the first page, via the Administration link in the navigation block or the Adminstration tab. See the section Administration above.

Markup language

You miss all the formatting you know from other Totara activities? That's because the wiki-type of your wiki is e.g. nwiki. See Nwiki markup.

Administering a Wiki

Under the Totara navigation bar, there are three tools: search, links, and administration. The Search Wiki button allows you to search the wiki for key terms. Totara returns all the pages containing your search term.

The Choose Wiki Links dropdown menu provides you with tools to view your wiki in different ways. The tools include:

  • Site map: A hierarchical view of the pages and links in the wiki, starting with the first page.
  • Page index: An alphabetical list of all the pages in the wiki.
  • Newest pages: A list of the most recently created pages.
  • Most visited pages: A list of pages with the most views.
  • Most often changed pages: A list of most frequently edited pages.
  • Updated pages: Lists all the pages in the wiki by date and time of last edit.
  • Orphaned pages: A list of pages that were created and had all the links to them deleted.
  • Wanted pages: A wiki page where people can list pages they want to see in the collection.
  • Export pages: You can wrap up all your wiki pages and export them as regular HTML to a ZIP file for download or to a Totara directory.
  • File download: Download binary files attached to wiki pages.

The Administration drop-down menu gives you tools that keep your wiki running smoothly. As the Wiki is generated, pages may become orphaned or you may need to manage a trainee’s contributions.

  • Set page flags: Page flags are properties you can set on a per-page basis. Every page can be set with different permissions:
  • TXT: Indicates whether the page can contain text.
  • BIN: Flag for allowing binary (graphics) content.
  • OFF: Stands for 'offline'. The page is still there; it just can’t be read by someone who doesn’t have editing permissions.
  • HTM: Allows HTML content instead of wiki text.
  • RO: Stands for 'read-only'. You and your trainees can only read the file, not make changes.
  • WR: The writable flag allows anyone in the course to make changes to the document.
  • Remove pages: The wiki engine automatically tracks pages that aren’t linked from anywhere else (they were created and then the link was deleted) and empty pages. This tool allows you to remove these orphaned wiki pages, which can’t be reached through the ordinary wiki interface.
  • Strip pages: While the wiki engine tracks changes, it stores old versions in the database. To de-clutter the data, you may occasionally want to delete all the old versions and just keep the new one.
  • Revert mass changes: Use this tool to roll back changes to all pages if a particular author makes a mess of many pages in the wiki.
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