In early April, Outreach Manager Samantha Erickson and I attended the Experimental Biology annual meeting in San Diego. The theme was Transforming the Future through Science, which is also the goal of the Wikipedia Year of Science 2016.
The Experimental Biology conference is a multidisciplinary meeting that brings together more than 14,000 scientists from six academic societies. We met with faculty and researchers representing anatomists, physiologists, biochemistry and molecular biologists, pathologists, nutritionists, and pharmacologists.
We heard from Sandi Clement, genetics and molecular biology instructor at California Polytechnic State University, who has been teaching her biology courses with Wikipedia since Fall 2015. Her students use Wikipedia’s science articles to fact check a recent news item. Students discover what’s missing from those articles, and identify new articles for creation.
Sandi also teaches women’s, gender and ethnic studies courses where students contribute articles on women scientists. She was the featured faculty member at the Wikipedia edit-a-thon sponsored by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Public Outreach Committee and the Simons Foundation. Based on the list of African-American women in STEM fields, she found that biochemist Tracy L. Johnson was missing, which she’s now working to improve.
These are just some of the ways that Wikipedia and science courses can complement one another. If you’d like to know more, check out our list of teaching resources or read about our effort to increase Wikipedia articles on women scientists. If you’d like to add a Wikipedia component to your science course, you can reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.