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Wikipedia as a worldly learning environment

Mira Vogel9 December 2016

Wikipedia – the encyclopaedia anybody can edit – is one of the most influential, multilingual sources of information in the world. Editing Wikipedia is a very Connected Curriculum friendly pursuit, often requiring students to knit their contributions into an existing community of interest. As well as subject knowledge, encounters with other editors often require students to draw on their sensitivity and powers of persuasion, expressed in discussion about edits on each article’s Talk page.

As well as being a fertile site for assessment, Wikipedia is also labouring under a marked gender imbalance.  Women make up about one in six of the biographical articles on the site, and there are relatively few women editors.

Yesterday marked the beginning of a worldwide campaign to represent more women on Wikipedia. On BBC Radio 4 Today, Thursday 8th December (start at 2 hours 48 minutes), at  Lucy Crompton-Reid, Chief Executive of Wikimedia UK explains  how Wikimedia reflects the bias to men in primary sources and editing and proposes ways to address this. Over on her blog, Professor Alison Littlejohn introduces her research into the transition people make to become Wikipedia editors.

If you or your students are editing Wikipedia, I’d love to hear from you. Or if you’re interested in setting up an editing activity, there are several colleagues and students in UCL with experience to help.