Wikis, freely editable collections of web pages, are showing potential for a flexible documentation and communication tool for collaborative design tasks. They also provide a medium that can be further transformed by properly understanding both the need for flexibility as well as support for design thinking early in the design process. The purpose of this work is to analyze the different dimensions of the wiki from a communication perspective as applicable to design. With a focus on communication in design, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of using wikis in student engineering design teams. Our ultimate goal is to better support the design process while exploiting the potential for increasing the shared understanding among teams using a wiki. By introducing a wiki in a globally distributed product development course, students gain hands-on experience in using wikis as a design tool. Feedback from students will be collected through questionnaires and used to improve and transform the wiki as a support tool for communication during early design collaboration.

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