Assigning Wikipedia projects as a tool for teaching science courses

  • siri
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Course uses Wikipedia as tool for teaching science translation

Elisabeth - did you see this wiki-friendly activity? www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/wikip...gn=Update_01.11.2019

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Note by moderator: Title of the news item on website of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Course uses Wikipedia as tool for teaching science translation"
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  • DianeKellogg
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Re: Course uses Wikipedia as tool for teaching science translation

Thanks for posting this very interesting article. I've contacted the Harvard Professor to get more information about their approach.......how they chose assignments, monitored work and evaluated students when it came time for grading their work. This idea holds real potential for improving the information on WASH topics on Wikipedia.

Please get in touch (email me, or post here) if you would like to get the information I'm collecting about how to structure the work and evaluate assignments. I'll create a small email list of professors who can be in touch with each other to exchange ideas and materials.

With appreciation,
Diane

Diane M. Kellogg
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Private Sector Specialist, BMGF grant to SuSanA
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Re: Course uses Wikipedia as tool for teaching science translation

The Washington Post called Wikipedia "A Place of Truth," and "the internet's good grown-up."

My two favorite paragraphs from their article celebrating Wikipedia's 18 year anniversary:

1. Wikipedia’s rise is driven by a crucial difference in values that separates it from its peers in the top 10 websites: On Wikipedia, truth trumps self-expression.

2. .........Wikipedia has largely avoided the “fake news” problem, raising the question of what the encyclopedia does differently than other popular websites. As Brian Feldman suggested in New York magazine, perhaps it’s simply the willingness within the Wikipedia community to delete. If a user posts bad information on Wikipedia, other users are authorized and empowered to remove that unencyclopedic content. It’s a striking contrast to Twitter, which allows lies and inflammatory statements to remain on its platform for years.

Here's a link to the whole article: www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/happy-18...m_term=.fcb57da01805

Diane M. Kellogg
Partner, Kellogg Consultants
Private Sector Specialist, BMGF grant to SuSanA
Marketing Consultant, PRISTO (RVO-funded grant)
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  • DianeKellogg
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Re: Assigning Wikipedia projects as a tool for teaching science courses

Professors who assign Wikipedia work to their students pointed me to several valuable resources I thought I would pass on, along with a link to WikiProject Sanitation, which is an ongoing SuSanA project that always welcomes new contributors.

"Teach with Wikipedia" describes how to set up a course that relies on Wikipedia as a teaching tool and as a tool for engaging people in improving content on Wikipedia. Skills people learn include:

1. Research skills
2. Writing skills
3. Neutrality and objectivity
4. Critical thinking skills: differentiating between fact and inference
5. Recognizing conflicts of interest
6. Avoiding plagiarism

Training Modules for Students are each short. Together they give students enough about the Wikipedia writing process that no class time has to be spent on training them to be Wikipedia editors.

Training Modules for Instructors describe how to design assignments of 2, 4, 6 and 12 week duration. Projects can be as simple as finding and adding better images and videos related to a group of articles, researching an existing topics to update information, or as complex as researching and writing a completely new Wikipedia article.

This is a link to WikiProject Sanitation which has a list of WASH-related articles considered of "high importance."

Diane M. Kellogg
Partner, Kellogg Consultants
Private Sector Specialist, BMGF grant to SuSanA
Marketing Consultant, PRISTO (RVO-funded grant)
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  • muench
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Re: Assigning Wikipedia projects as a tool for teaching science courses

Here is another update to this topic: This is an interesting blog post entitled Why this professor will “never go back to term papers”:
wikiedu.org/blog/2019/03/01/why-this-pro...back-to-term-papers/

I copy from the blog post:

It’s not every day that a student takes the time to officially thank their professor for a great project. But that’s what Madeleine Hardt, Dr. Jennifer Glass’ student at Georgia Institute of Technology, did after learning how to write Wikipedia articles as a class assignment.
[...]

But Dr. Glass wasn’t sure how her students would take to the assignment at the beginning of the term. She noted that most of them have probably been told never to use Wikipedia at one time or another. “They must have been thinking ‘What the heck is this?'” She joked. Post-assignment presentations told a different story, though. Students were eager to share their take-aways and enthusiasm about their work.

According to the students themselves, the assignment gave them:
- An understanding of how Wikipedia works
- Skills to analyze digital sources of information for accuracy
- A deeper understanding of course topics
- Collaborative writing skills to produce reliable information for the public
- Pride that they’ve contributed to something larger than themselves


If anyone is reading this who is a lecturer or professor teaching young people about WASH or related topics, I have a couple of questions to you:
1) Can you imagine running a Wikipedia editing assignment as part of the course work?
2) If not, why not? Which barriers do you envision?

And if you are a student currently at university: can you imagine doing such an assignment as part of your coursework? Would you find it interesting? If it was an elective subject, would you choose it?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
Elisabeth

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(Funded via GIZ short term consultancy contract)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @EvMuench
Sanitation Wikipedia project leader: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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