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Wikipedia and Higher Education: Teaching with Wikipedia

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Presentation on Wikipedi and Higher Education given at University of Sydney Writing Hub during symposium on teaching with Wikipedia.

Presentation on Wikipedi and Higher Education given at University of Sydney Writing Hub during symposium on teaching with Wikipedia.

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  • 1. Wikipedia and Higher Education Dr. Robert E. Cummings Associate Professor of English, University of Mississippi SLAM Fellow, University of Sydney US Fulbright Senior Specialist in OER
  • 2. Two Parts to This Presentation Part One: The Role of Wikipedia in Higher Education Part Two: Some examples of successful assignments teaching with Wikipedia from students and teachers around the world
  • 3. Part One: The Four Phases of Higher Education’s Engagement with Wikipedia 1. Understanding Wikipedia as a source (2001 – present) 2. Wikipedia as a teaching tool (2003-present) 3. Wikipedia as the public face of research (2011 – present) 4. Wikipedia as identity site for disciplines (?)
  • 4. 1. Higher Education Understanding Wikipedia as a Source Wikipedia first appears on 15 January, 2001, as an alternative to Nupedia. Nupedia had been an online, peer-reviewed encyclopedia project which suffered from lack of contributions. With little to lose, Jimmy Wales, et al., decided to open the gates and allow anyone to contribute to the encyclopedia. And content exploded.
  • 5. 1. Higher Education Understanding Wikipedia as a Source Higher Education begins to take notice of Wikipedia. “First” example of higher education engagement with Wikipedia: 11 July 2003. Andrew Lih (“Fuzzheado”) teaches a course “You’ve Got Mail: Interactive Media, News, and Communication” at University of Hong Kong.
  • 6. 1. Higher Education Understanding Wikipedia as a Source Which is soon followed by its banishment: February 2007: Middlebury History Department bans Wikipedia citations in student papers.
  • 7. 2. Wikipedia as a teaching tool List of Institutions Currently Registered as Teaching with Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Institutions
  • 8. 3. Wikipedia as the public face of research At its 2011 meeting, the Association for Psychological Science urged its members to begin editing Wikipedia to ensure “represents psychology fully and accurately.” Mahzarin R. Banaji, a psychology professor at Harvard University, stated that she knows it will be difficult to engage academics in editing Wikipedia. Photo. From The Project on Law and Mind Sciences. 2008.
  • 9. 3. Wikipedia as the public face of research After reading articles on psychology on Wikipedia, Banaji observed that “They were really old, out-of-date stuff.” But Wikipedia gets 13 million visitors a day, so these inaccuracies, she realized, were the public face of Psychology, far more than any professional journal. Of 5,500 psychology articles in the online reference, only nine have been rated as good by Wikipedia’s peer- assessment process, according to the psychology association.
  • 10. 3. Wikipedia as the public face of research Disciplines -- even in “high stakes” areas – start to realize through their Wikipedia pedagogy that public access to information is vital to their professions. Professor Arnin Azzam’s course teaches future medical professionals how to edit Wikipedia. “As these students are going to become the next generation of health care providers we need them to be able to communicate in language that the general population understands”
  • 11. 4. Wikipedia as identity site for disciplines ? As the academy begins to understand the expanding role for Wikipedia and the face of public knowledge, I predict that disciplines will become more organized in engaging editors. As the public’s expectation and appetite for authority – bolstered by academic presence – grows within Wikipedia, I predict that disciplines will begin to compare their presences on Wikipedia. Disciplines which are more oriented to providing accurate public knowledge will move first. As their awareness of their relative successes grows, they will compete amongst themselves to achieve the best presence.
  • 12. Getting Started: A Model for Teaching with Wikipedia Consider your Course Learning Objectives Determine Course Topic to Take to Wikipedia Teach Students the Wikipedia Context through Five Pillars: * Encyclopedia * NPOV *CC-BY-SA * Civility and Community *Be Bold Register your class with Education Program Locate the content on Wikipedia and propose improvements in class, and online: copy edit? Extend a stub? Take an article to the next level? Translate? Write a requested article? Practice making those improvements in your sandbox while awaiting feedback Make those improvement s Reflect on the lessons learned, as they relate to to . . .
  • 13. Step 1 of 7 Consider Your Course Learning Objectives or Outcomes How will teaching with Wikipedia support your course learning outcomes? Almost all Wikipedia assignments are keyed off of student “mastery” of your course content in some way. Once students are on the way toward achieving a course outcome, their experience in Wikipedia can reinforce their progress. Activity: Step 1 on your worksheet
  • 14. Step 1 of 7 Consider Your Course Learning Objectives or Outcomes Example: In my first-year writing course, my course outcomes are: Writing Process: Students will demonstrate writing as a process that requires brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading. Exploration and Argument: Students will use writing to respond to readings, explore unfamiliar ideas, question thinking different from their own, reflect on personal experiences, and develop sound arguments. Purposes and Audience: Students will produce writing suitable for a variety of purposes, with an emphasis on academic purposes. Research: Students will integrate primary sources with their own ideas through summary, paraphrase, and quotation, and document those sources properly. Conventions and Mechanics: Students will produce writing that is free of serious grammatical and mechanical errors.
  • 15. Step 2 of 7 Consider The Course Content You Would Like Students to Engage on Wikipedia How will teaching with Wikipedia support your course learning outcomes? At some point in your learning outcomes, students will have obtained a level of working engagement with your course content. They will not be experts, but they will know more than most of the public. All teaching with Wikipedia works by reinforcing a student’s developing expertise with your course content. There are several types of Wikipedia assignments, but all rely on a student’s comparative knowledge advantage in you course content. Activity: Step 2 on your worksheet
  • 16. Step 2 of 7 Consider The Course Content You Would Like Students to Engage on Wikipedia Example: In my WRIT 101 course, I chose for my students to work with film pages on Wikipedia. They were allowed to choose a film that interested them, and they could work in groups, or as individuals. Students were not experts in film. However, after some research in to the film of their choosing, they knew more about their chosen film than most of the public.
  • 17. Step 3 of 7 Introduce Students to the Wikipedia Environment Give students an opportunity to express their experience, attitudes, and background with Wikipedia, both inside and outside the classroom. Remind students that the purpose of a university education is to move them from being “information consumers” to “information producers” and that writing in Wikipedia is an opportunity to try their hand at producing information which the public will find valuable. Assure students that you (and Wiki Ed ambassadors) are there to help and support them throughout the project. Activity: Step 3a on your worksheet
  • 18. Step 3 of 7 Introduce Students to the Wikipedia Environment Review the Five Pillars of Wikipedia: 1. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. 2. Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view. 3. Wikipedia is free content that anyone can edit, use, modify, and distribute. 4. Editors should treat each other with respect and civility. 5. Wikipedia does not have firm rules. Activity: Step 3b on your worksheet
  • 19. Step 3 of 7 Introduce Students to the Wikipedia Environment Examples: Students writing essays, and simultaneously violating (1) no original research, (2) NPOV and (3) purpose of an encyclopedia. Students failing to accord due weight. Students not offering sufficient citations. Students plagiarizing. Biting the newcomers.
  • 20. Step 4 of 7 Register Your Course with the Wikipedia Education Program Visit the Wikipedia Education Program Page. Benefits include online ambassadors for your course interaction with Wikipedia, and more structure for your course page. Or, alternatively, post a notice of your course on the School and University Projects page.
  • 21. Step 5 of 7 Decide How Your Class Project Will Contribute to Wikipedia Determine the overall framework of your Wikipedia assignment. Here are a few common types (cf. Case Studies pamphlet): copy edit? Extend a stub? Take an article to the next level? Translate? Write a requested article?
  • 22. Step 6 of 7 Locate the content on Wikipedia and propose improvements in class, and online In the assignment, design a method for students to practice and propose their edits. The process is generally: 1. Identify and evaluate the article 2. Propose the edits to the class 3. Propose the edits to the Wikipedia editing community via the article’s talk page 4. Practice the edits in a sandbox (attached to the user page) 5. Make the edits!
  • 23. Step 7 of 7 Design Reflection In my Wikipedia assignments, I include reflection at the end of the sequence. Reflection allows students to express their opinions about any aspect of the assignment, but, more meaningfully, it allows them to make connections between their editing experience and the value it provides them, sometimes in terms of SLOs, but other times more broadly. Students’ unit grades are calculated based on their participation in the overall process – NOT whether or not their proposed edits were retained by Wikipedia.
  • 24. Some Questions . . . Why not Wikiversity? Whither OER? Why won’t Wikipedia replace all classroom content? (cf. university model from Israel of simply challenge testing students who read and review Wikipedia articles.)
  • 25. Some Resources . . . Wiki Ed Foundation Teaching with Wikipedia Listserv http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Using_Wikipedia_as_a_teaching_tool_in_higher_education_% 28Bookshelf%29/Introduction:_Using_Wikipedia_as_a_teaching_tool_in_higher_education Wikipedia Education Program: http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Education_Program Logan, Sandal, Gardner, Manske and Bateman. “Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia.” Plos Computational Biology 6(9). (2010). http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1000941 Wikipedia Education Program Newsletter http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Education_Program/News
  • 26. Closing Thought It is not an easy task to overcome the prejudices against Wikipedia in academic circles, but accomplishing that will serve us all and solidify an important new layer of knowledge in the online- information ecosystem. Wikipedia's first decade was marked by its meteoric rise. Let's mark its second decade by its integration into the formal research process. --Casper Grathwohl Vice President and Publisher of Digital and Reference Content Oxford University Press “Wikipedia Comes of Age.” Chronicle of Higher Education 7 January 2011
  • 27. Works Cited Banaji, Mahzarin. Photo. From The Project on Law and Mind Sciences. 2008. Web. 14 Feb. 2104. --. http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2010/dec ember-10/anyone-can-edit-wikipedia-have-you.html Cohen, Norm. “A History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia as a Research Source.” The New York Times. 21 Feb. 2007.Web. 14 Feb. 2014. Fischman, Josh. “Academics, in New Move, Begin to Work with Wikipedia.” Chronicle of Higher Education. Wired Campus Blog. 28 May 2011. Web. 14 Feb. 2014. Lih, Andrew, Deryck Chan, and Emily Temple-Wood. “Ten years of Wikipedia outreach in Hong Kong.” Wikimania 2013 , The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 Feb. 2014. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.