Wikipedia in the curriculum helps students to “think critically and make balanced judgements about information. It empowers us as citizens to reach and express informed views and to engage fully with society”.
Our 4 years at University of Edinburgh was to work with staff and students to develop information and digital literacy skills and to share scholarship openly to help address the diversity of both topics & editors, and issues of knowledge equity worldwide.
Hundreds of staff and students have been trained and over ten different disciplines, across all three teaching colleges, have engaged positively with implementing Wikimedia in the curriculum, working closely with Academic Support Librarians and course teams. Wikipedia has proven it has lots to offer to teaching and learning, while improving areas of underrepresentation for the benefit of all.
“Too many students I met were being told that Wikipedia was untrustworthy and were, instead, being encouraged to do research…. the message that many had taken home was to turn to Google and use whatever came up first. They heard that Google was trustworthy and Wikipedia was not.” (Boyd, 2017)
A 2016 study found that 87.5% of students reported using Wikipedia and finding it “academically useful” in an introductory or clarificatory role. This is important when one considers that universities are knowledge producing institutions and the way in which the public consume information through Google’s search 90.8% of the time compared to other online search platforms. There is considerable impact to being a top hit on Google where Wikipedia is privileged to rank highly, with its open-licensed content now being reused by other big digital intermediaries and spreading across the open web, arguably forming the epistemic backbone the internet itself. There is therefore agency to editing Wikipedia. Supporting an informed understanding of this power dynamic, of how Wikipedia works, and exploring areas of mutual benefit has been key to this project.
“It’s great to see the product of the students’ work, and one that lasts beyond the life of the assignment.” Ruth Jenkins, Academic Support Librarian.
This presentation will launch a new booklet of Wikimedia in the Classroom case studies to support and nurture a growing community of open educators, showcasing stories of student engagement and co-creation as part of a sustainable approach at the University of Edinburgh and across the whole United Kingdom. It will demonstrate how Wikimedia can be implemented successfully in a variety of subject areas and provide exemplars of how students have engaged with, and been intrinsically motivated by, researching and publishing their scholarship online in a real-world application of their teaching and learning. This presentation will also share key performance indicators to make the case why mainstreaming Wikipedia in the classroom is a worthwhile return of investment for schools and universities.
“Not only were students enthralled when they saw their pages go live, they… were now included in a process of knowledge exchange – bringing the things they were learning in the classroom out to the world around them”. Dr Alexander Chow, Lecturer.
• Beel, J.; Gipp, B. (2009). “Google Scholar’s ranking algorithm: The impact of citation counts (An empirical study)”. 2009 Third International Conference on Research Challenges in Information Science: 439–446. doi:1109/RCIS.2009.5089308.
• Boyd, Danah (2017-01-05). “Did Media Literacy Backfire?”. Data & Society: Points.
• Heilman, James M; West, Andrew G (2015-03-04). “Wikipedia and Medicine: Quantifying Readership, Editors, and the Significance of Natural Language”. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 17 (3). doi:10.2196/jmir.4069. ISSN 1439-4456. PMC 4376174. PMID 25739399.
• Hillis, Ken; Petit, Michael; Jarrett, Kylie (2012). Google and the Culture of Search. Routledge. ISBN9781136933066.
• Masukume, Gwinyai; Kipersztok, Lisa; Shafee, Thomas; Diptanshu, Das; Heilman, James (2017-10-10). “Updating Wikipedia should be part of all doctors’ jobs”. STAT. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
• McMahon, C., Johnson, I.L., & Hecht, B.J. (2017). The Substantial Interdependence of Wikipedia and Google: A Case Study on the Relationship Between Peer Production Communities and Information Technologies. ICWSM.
• Selwyn, Neil; Gorard, Stephen. “Students’ use of Wikipedia as an academic resource — Patterns of use and perceptions of usefulness”. The Internet and Higher Education. 28: 28–34. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.08.004.