University of Wisconsin–Madison

03.20.15 Thomas Dubois on Wikipedia Editing

220px-Wikipedia-logo-v2-en.svgYour students might not think they’re experts on the “big topics” on Wikipedia, but when they’re discussing a specific reading in one of your classes, they might be (because you are!). Enter an opportunity to update the world about your academic specialty through your students!

Tom DuboisOn Friday, March 20th, Tom Dubois from Scandinavian Studies shared how he has had students share content with the world through Wikipedia editing. We dug into the assignment, addressed challenges, and even took folks through the process of editing!

Tom’s Wikipedia Story

and the Q& A…

Takeaways for this session include:

  • Start very small and specialized — instead of trying to make major edits in a major page in Wikipedia (where the current page editors will probably reject your changes), start by addressing something very specialized and somewhat obscure. That will be less likely to get changed immediately.
  • Have the students take a screen shot immediately after their change becomes live. There’s a good chance their changes won’t stick around, so their documentation of it is their assignment deliverable.
  • Wikipedia is edited/maintained mostly by men, but they’re looking for female Wikipedians — get your female students involved in controlling the discourse there!
  • Liam Lair, an instructor at Louisiana State University, shares his experience of teaching with Wikipedia in a Women’s and Gender Studies course. 

If you’re interested in stepping through a worksheet to get up and running with Wikipedia editing, try using the Wikipedia activity worksheet we used in this session!

Interested in going deeper? Check out a webinar about using Wikipedia editing in a Psychology class at Carnegie Mellon (audio starts a bit late — be patient).

and here’s a Webinar on Teaching with Wikipedia

Wikimedia’s YouTube Playlist on Editing in Wikipedia

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