Like Carmen, U.OSU and CarmenConnect, CarmenWiki needs to be used intentionally. What do you want your students to accomplish in the wiki? How do you want your students to use the wiki? These are important questions to consider when you're setting up your wiki-space.
The following are important points to consider:
Give your students time and space to practice in the wiki. You don't want your students to be intimidated by the technology, so help your students become more familiar with it. Providing links to CarmenWiki help pages might be useful for your students.
Create instructions for how you want your students to use the wiki. Make sure they understand the parameters of the assignment, how it "fits" with the rest of their work for the quarter, and how you will be grading their wiki work.
Identify and define their roles and responsibilities within the group when students are working collaboratively.
Share your expectations for the wiki with your students in addition to instructions about assignments. One possibility might be posting your thoughts on wiki etiquette. Here is an example page that might be helpful. One of the trickiest things about working collaboratively in a wiki is being expected to edit each other's work. Many people are uncomfortable with this and will use comments or outside email instead, expecting that the "owner" of the work will change it. If you want people to edit on the fly, be sure to include that in your instructions and practice assignments.
Instructions and rules are great starting points for students, but you also need to create an open, friendly, and trusting environment for your students. Students need to feel comfortable in order to participate in any environment. Monitoring student activity may be necessary at the beginning to identify acceptable and potentially harmful interactions. Being an active presence in your wiki is essential to encourage students to experiment and freely express themselves.
Part of having an active presence in the wiki is constantly leaving feedback, either in the wiki or privately through email, reminding students of schedules or deadlines. Above all, be patient and have a plan for students who require technical assistance.