Submissions:2016/Contributions as Coursework: What roles does Wikipedia play for the students?
- Rosie Redfield
- E-mail address
- Dept. of Zoology, University of British Columbia
- For the past four years students in UBC’s Human Ecology course (BIOL 345) have been creating and editing Wikipedia pages as part of their course work (~ 35% of their grade). As a complement to the submission by Schiroo and Halfaker, I will discuss how this process benefits the students, and how the benefits might be further increased.
Working in pairs in a Wikipedia sandbox, BIOL 345 students choose a topic, usually about a local resource or issue, and develop an annotated outline describing their planned page or improvement. Once this is approved by the instructor they go on to create their contribution and submit it to other students for peer review. Reviews are done on the sandbox’s Talk page, so all participants can learn from them. Finally the team polishes their contribution and submits it to Wikipedia mainspace.
Writing for Wikipedia transforms students from passive consumers of knowledge to active contributors. Because they already use Wikipedia, they know their work is valuable, but the constraints imposed by Wikipedia’s Five Pillars teach them about how public knowledge is created. They learn to set aside their biases, to identify reliable information, to write clearly and concisely, to credit their sources, and to respect copyright.
The new Wiki Education dashboard and its associated resources are very helpful, but students still struggle to make sense of the Wikipedia environment. I will suggest additional tools that could help students to make the most of this opportunity and encourage them to continue contributing to Wikipedia after the course is over.
- Length of presentation
- 20 min.
- Special schedule requests
- Preferred room size
- No preference (you'll know better than me)
- Will you attend WikiConference North America if your submission is not accepted?
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