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Is it time to get wiki’d?

By Samantha Ahern, on 21 April 2020

The Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit organisation that hosts Wikipedia amongst other free knowledge projects. At present there are 12 projects, but the projects of particular interest to educators are:

  • Wikipedia – the online encyclopedia;
  • Wikidata – an open database and central storage for structured data;
  • Wikimedia Commons – a host of media files and their metadata;
  • Wikibooks – a collaborative, instructional non-fiction book authoring website.

These can be used in a variety of ways to develop skills. Wikimedia UK have produced a report mapping engagement with the projects to existing digital skills frameworks in the UK, which can be read on Wikimedia UK’s website: https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Education.

Wikimedia at UCL

UCL has hosted a number of Wikipedia edit-a-thons, recent events have included:

  • Teaching translation through Wikipedia, 2015;
  • WCCWiki Workshop, September 2018;
  • International Women’s Day wiki edit-a-thon, May 2019;
  • TrowelBlazers Wikimedia Edit-a-thon, November 2019.

The interdiscplinary BASc  course  core module BASC0001 Approaches to Knowledge requires students to contribute to the wikibook ‘Issues in Disciplinarity’. This assessment was first introduced in 2018/19 with publication of the initial Open Education Resource and Open Access book: Issues in Interdisciplinarity 2018-19. This assignment has become an ongoing assessment and this year’s students have been contributing to Issues in Interdisciplinarity 2019-20. More information about the project is given in the Wikimedia UK blog post University College London undergraduates will create their own course text using Wikibooks.

However, Wikimedia projects are not generally used within a teaching and learning context. This is unfortunate as Wikimedia projects can be used to create authentic tasks and assessments that align with the Connected Curriculum.

Wikimedia in Education

Wikimedia UK and the University of Edinburgh recently combined forces to produce the ebook Wikimedia in Education. This ebook outlines how Wikimedia projects can support the development of students’s digital capabilities. But, more importantly, it provides 14 case studies from a range of disciplines and institutions on how they have embedded Wikimedia projects in their courses.

It is hoped that these case studies will inspire further use of Wikimedia projects in Higher Education. I am hoping that this will be the case within UCL.

OpenEd@UCL

If you are interested in Wikimedia projects or open education more generally you are invited to join the OpenEd@UCL community. You can do this by joining our MS Teams team OpenEd@UCL. The purpose of the team is to share ideas and resources. It will also be a communication channel between the OpenEd@UCL core team and the wider special interest group. This will include information about upcoming meetings and updates on activities.

To find out more about UCL’s institutional repository for uploading, publishing, storing, and sharing Open Educational Resources visit the Open Education at UCL pages.

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