Submissions:2018/To Use Wikipedia or Not: How the Wikipedia assignment can build a bridge between Academia and Wikipedia

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2018.

To Use Wikipedia or Not-How the Wikipedia assignment can build a bridge between Academia and Wikipedia
Theme (optional)
Recruitment & Retention
Academic Peer Review option
Type of submission
Helaine Blumenthal
E-mail address
Wikimedia username
Helaine (Wiki Ed)
Affiliation(s) (optional)
Wiki Education Foundation

Wikipedia has gained considerable acceptance within the academic community, but barriers still persist. This presentation will explain how Wikipedia assignments at college and graduate levels help to break down these barriers, and what else needs to be done to build a more solid bridge between these two communities.

There are many factors that inspire instructors to use Wikipedia assignments in their courses on an ongoing basis, as well as some that cause instructors to dispense with the assignment after their first experience. Instructors encounter the same challenges that all first-time editors face, but they also grapple with factors unique to academia and their position as teachers and mentors. In exploring circumstances that lead to success as well as those that result in poor outcomes, we can better identify which instructors and courses are best suited for the Wikipedia assignment and improve our existing frameworks to better support them.

During this session, instructors will be encouraged to share their experiences running a Wikipedia assignment. Some of the topics we will explore, include:

  • the ever-growing necessity for students to develop digital literacy skills
  • professional skills students develop from the Wikipedia assignment
  • pride students take in contributing to something beyond the classroom and the accountability that comes from writing for a public audience
  • concerns surrounding online harassment
  • technical complexities
  • inequities in student access to technology
  • varying nature of student abilities
  • institutional bias instructors face in adopting the Wikipedia assignment
  • mistrust that some Wikipedia editors express toward instructors due to their lack of editing experience

While most instructors are not "Wikipedians," they are an important segment of the Wikipedia community. Their students contribute millions of words to Wikipedia each term under the guidance of Wiki Education and their particular subject expertise. Understanding how to strengthen the intersections between academia and Wikipedia as well as the current roadblocks separating these mission aligned institutions is therefore valuable to both communities.

Length of presentation
30 minutes
Special requests
Preferred room size
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  1. Matthewvetter (talk) 14:26, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
  2. Samantha (Wiki Education) (talk) 17:08, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
  3. Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:11, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
  4. Gamaliel (talk) 18:53, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
  5. BobCummings (talk) 21:31, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
  6. Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 22:08, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
  7. Doddsam09 (talk) 14:05, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
  8. Hamaxides (talk) 19:04, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
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