Teaching with Wikipedia


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Brief introduction to Wikimedia, and overview of classroom Wikipedia assignments -- benefits, best practices, pitfalls and gains. (Updated May 2014). Thanks to LiAnna Davis and Jami Mathewson at WMF for their help and content (quotes, education project slides).

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Teaching with Wikipedia

  1. 1. Teaching with Wikipedia Phoebe Ayers UC Davis Libraries May 8, 2014
  2. 2. Overview • Introductions • How Wikipedia works • Types of assignments • Learning outcomes • Best practices and caveats • Making it happen • Discussion/Questions?
  3. 3. Introductions • Who I am • Who you are: – Area of teaching – Wikipedia experience? – Planning a Wikipedia assignment?
  4. 4. Taipei, Wikimania 2007 How Wikipedia Works
  5. 5. Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. - Wikimedia’s vision statement
  6. 6. Wikimedia is global Wikimedia chapters, 2013 (dark blue = founded)
  7. 7. Wikimania, Haifa 2011
  8. 8. What is Wikimedia? 12 projects 280 languages 31 million Wikipedia articles 21 million media files • 80,000 active editors • 100s of local meetup groups • 40 local/national level chapters • 200 employees at the Wikimedia Foundation, San Francisco • 1,130,000 individual financial donors (in 2011-12) • 500,000,000 readers/month
  9. 9. • Free [to use and reuse] • Volunteer-written • Supported by readers • Everyone can participate • No top down editorial control: • Community curated work Overview
  10. 10. • Neutrality (NPOV) • Verifiability (references!) • Notability • Encyclopedic treatment • … and many, many style guidelines Core editorial policies
  11. 11. Wikipedia editors
  12. 12. Wikipedia and education
  13. 13. “At present, Wikipedia hovers at the fringes of academia, like an uninvited guest, [yet] Wikipedia's aims are eminently academic… Still, everybody uses it, in one way or another, even if they might want not to admit to the fact. Above all, our students use it, openly or otherwise (as they are often explicitly told not to cite Wikipedia articles in term papers), but without necessarily knowing how it works. They are told that Wikipedia is bad, but they are not often told why; and of course, they find it an incredibly useful resource.” -- Jon Beasley-Murray, University of British Columbia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Jbmurray/Madness Inviting the uninvited guest
  14. 14. “ I liked the idea that students would be engaging in a real world project… Here they would be writing for a public audience, also one that almost uniquely was in a position to write back, to re-write and comment upon what they were writing.” -- Jon Beasley-Murray, University of British Columbia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Jbmurray/Madness Why teach with Wikipedia?
  15. 15. "I’d rather spend 30 hours putting work into a project that will be available for public consumption upon its completion than putting 10 hours into a project which gets graded, returned, and then either thrown out or forsaken and forgotten. Turning in a paper and getting it back with a letter on it is far less rewarding than submitting an article onto one of the world’s most renowned knowledge bases for all to see.“ – Student in the Wikimedia Education program Why teach with Wikipedia?
  16. 16. Sample assignments • Research – referencing articles • Writing – Copyediting articles • Critical thinking – analyzing articles, reflecting on their own Wikipedia usage, comparing to other sources
  17. 17. Sample assignments, cont. • Graphical communication – creating technical illustrations or videos • Language classes – translating articles • Explanatory writing in other contexts – Contributing to Wikibooks, Wikiversity, Wikivoyage: textbooks, travel guides
  18. 18. • Writing skills – Expository and encyclopedic writing – Editing other people’s work • Research skills • Critical thinking • Media and information literacy Learning outcomes
  19. 19. • Know Wikipedia • Don’t over-scope or tackle controversies • Leave adequate time • Plan evaluation strategies • Involve Wikipedians & be transparent Best practices
  20. 20. • Wikipedia is a working environment • Do your student’s skills match the task? • Do you have time to manage this assignment? Pitfalls
  21. 21. • Student contributions may be removed – Grade worries • Is your project adequately documented on Wikipedia? More pitfalls
  22. 22. • Students’ work impacts tens of thousands • Real-world writing, editing, collaboration and technology skills • Lifetime impact of understanding Wikipedia and being a critical reader But many gains
  23. 23. "If I had to pick one main advantage of a Wikipedia assignment, it would be the peer editing between Wikipedians that often doesn’t take place with traditional assignments. The feedback from other users and students in my class really helped me improve my articles." – Student in the Wikimedia Education program Gains, continued
  24. 24. Making it happen • Wiki Ed Foundation and Wikimedia Education program resources http://education.wikimedia.org • Past classes & assignments • Wikipedians! (local and remote) – Campus ambassador program
  25. 25. Wikipedia Education Program
  26. 26. On-Wikipedia course pages
  27. 27. Learning to edit • Online: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:HELP • In-person: May 16 and May 23, 1-3pm, Shields Library
  28. 28. Thoughts?
  29. 29. • What kind of assignment would work in your course? • Benefits/challenges? • What support would you need? Discussion
  30. 30. • Phoebe Ayers, psayers@ucdavis.edu • Jami Mathewson jami@wikiedfoundation.org – US Education Program coordinator at the Wiki Ed Foundation • http://education.wikimedia.org • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:SUP • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Courses Contacts