OK, so, my plan was to blog daily about my wiki project. Then the avalanche of crap that is the end of the first marking period came down on me. Something had to give, and the blog was it.
Anyway, here's how it went:
My big mistake was to give insufficiently specific instructions when it came to writing the articles. After two days, none of my groups were done, so I forced the issue. On the third day, I had each group send me a message stating which member of the group was handling which specific portion of their article. This produced immediate results, since each individual was now accountable for something specific.
Once that hurdle was surmounted, the rest of the project went much more smoothly. The fact-checking stage went about as planned, and the peer-evaluations pretty well matched my expectations.
Best of all, when they got their study guides, they really showed some promise. The study guides for this unit consist of five higher-level thinking questions, each of which requires the student to use two or more articles to get the information they need. Students did struggle with the questions, but they kept at it, and have been asking good questions ("How do I answer this?" instead of "What do I write?"). I've enjoyed coaching them in how to go about figuring out some of these answers, and once they do figure it out, they do a pretty good job.
So, what now?
I'll return to this concept next semester, with my French Revolution unit. When I set it up, I'll need to create the article assignments with specific jobs in mind, and have the groups send me their rosters on day one.