Difference between revisions of "Submissions:2019/Wikipedia editing in Introductory Psychology: Teaching students online research skills while targeting gender bias"

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Revision as of 19:04, 12 September 2019

This submission has been noted and is pending review for WikiConference North America 2019.


Wikipedia editing in Introductory Psychology: Teaching students online research skills while targeting gender bias


Reliability of Information
+ Relationship Building & Support
+ Inclusion and Diversity
+ Editor Recruitment & Retention
+ Tech & Tools

Type of session:



Constructionism as a pedagogical approach emphasizes the value of creative work in building knowledge structures (Harel & Papert, 1991). Wikipedia editing assignments exemplify this perspective by offering numerous opportunities for students to acquire both academic content knowledge and skills in communicating information to the general public. As part of Wiki Education’s 2016 Year of Science initiative, our team launched WikiProject: Women in Psychology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Women_in_Psychology) to address the gender gap in Wikipedia biographies of women in Psychological Science. We present outcomes assessment data from four semesters of Introductory Psychology classes taught at a large, urban public university, where students working individually or with classmates produced more than 90 new Wikipedia biographies. Over successive semesters, we added various scaffolds to support students’ writing skills. We started by creating a template (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Celizas/BioTemplate) for a biographical article, which we uploaded to each student sandbox with clear instructions. We subsequently developed online homework assignments with Content Acquisition Podcasts (CAPs; Kennedy et al., 2016), i.e., short, narrated PowerPoint presentations, that introduced students to scientific abstracts and their argumentative structure, provided tips for unpacking jargon using Wikipedia, and included exercises to strengthen students’ paraphrasing skills. Pre-/post-test surveys indicated the value of Wikipedia editing as a transformative teaching tool. Students initially expressed confusion about Wikipedia’s editing process and concerns regarding Wikipedia’s lack of credibility. Wikipedia editing improved students’ online research habits, leading to increased reliance on library resources and decreased reliance on Google for academic work. After editing, students expressed more positive attitudes towards Wikipedia and indicated their appreciation of its sourcing requirements and the role of outside editors in vetting content. Students exhibited the IKEA Effect (Norton, Mochon, & Ariely, 2012), where the process of construction enhances students’ valuation of their self-made product. That is, after putting in the effort to create a new article, students expressed greater appreciation for Wikipedia and had more positive attitudes towards its content. Over and above these benefits, the CAPs were effective in reducing plagiarism of information from journal article abstracts. Taken together, the findings highlight the value of including Wikipedia editing in Introductory Psychology, as first-year college students need ample opportunities to practice writing, fact-checking, and information sourcing skills.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Elizabeth Che

E-mail address:


Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

The Graduate Center, CUNY

Estimated time:

30 minutes

Preferred room size:


Special requests:

Display options (e.g, projector, screen, ... etc.)

Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:

Yes we have given presentations on teaching with Wikipedia but this is an original presentation. Individual semester case studies were presented at the respective 2017, 2018, 2019 Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention, and the 2019 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. The current presentation will also include new outcomes assessment data from this semester’s implementation of Wikipedia editing in Introductory Psychology.

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)