When Wikipedia was founded in 2001, its difference from the traditional print model of encyclopedic writing was perhaps most apparent, but the fact that its content was generated by an alternative model—a non-centralized cadre of volunteer editors—offered the most significant difference. Almost overnight, there was an online reference tool that outpaced resources like Microsoft’s Encarta, and students and educators alike took notice. But not in a good way.
For starters, Wikipedia had problems. Its landscape was open to non-experts, who could inadvertently or deliberately make its content inaccurate. In addition, the very sources used to establish credibility often lacked veracity. Many instructors (myself included) made sure to include a clause in their syllabi that read: “Wikipedia does NOT count as a valid source.”
Fast-forward more than a decade and Wikipedia is the 7th most visited website in the world, containing well over 36 million articles in all its language editions. It now has high quality standards and a rigorous gatekeeping system in place. And another thing: many educators and academics now teach and collaborate with Wikipedia, often using best practices and resources developed by the Wiki Education Foundation.
In this workshop, will discuss how Wikipedia has evolved over the last decade and how it can be integrated into classroom instruction as a research tool and as a vehicle through which students can gain experience in writing for a public audience.
The session will be led by Comparative Media Studies/Writing lecturers Amy Carleton and Rebecca Thorndike-Breeze.
Immediately following this session we are hosting an Introduction to Editing Wikipedia event starting at 2:00 PM. Join us!