The Roundup: Sock it to me

One of the great joys of Wikipedia is just how comprehensive it can be. Sometimes, you want to know about the Arab Spring. Sometimes you want to know about hepatitis.

And sometimes, you just have a question about socks.

Case in point: When, exactly, should you wear a compression stocking? And where did compression stockings come from, anyway?

One student editor has you covered.

Students in Timothy Henningsen’s Composition course at the College of DuPage have been busy this summer, adding to pages on topics such as chocolate makers and Milton Glaser, designer of the iconic “I ♥ NY” logo.

Composition courses often offer students a chance to work on a wide range of articles. They think deeply about the content that’s on Wikipedia already, assessing it and weighing it against the knowledge they find. They add sourced information and improve the writing. Dr. Henningsen wrote an excellent blog post telling us why:

“If one of the main motives of assigning a research paper is to have students engage a discourse and speak to an audience, then unless that audience is real and tangible, the activity is inherently counterfeit. It might be good practice, but it’s nothing like playing a real game. Which is where Wikipedia comes in.”

So, what does this have to do with socks? It may not be initially obvious. But this student’s work on compression stockings has been seen more than 47,000 times since they took it on. And frankly, the article is fascinating.

It describes the stocking’s context within an entire history of compression therapy, starting as early as 5,000 BC. We even get a sense of how compression stockings are represented in art, where we see them on paintings of soldiers.

Crucially, the article provides a sense of when these stockings are medically necessary, how they work, and when they’re recommended for treatment. All of which was improved by this student.

One of the great revelations of Wikipedia is that there’s a fascinating history behind everything, and a value to the smallest details of the human experience. Student editors can help uncover that hidden history for the world by sharing it on Wikipedia. Meanwhile, this student has made an impact for 47,000 readers around the world, who can now access more information about what strike them, initially, as a curious form of therapy.

Want to tap into your students’ curiosity, and help them translate that for thousands of readers around the world? Get in touch with us about our free support for teaching with Wikipedia. Send us an e-mail:

Photo: Gold Leaf Socks by Sand and Sky, CC-BY 2.0 via Flickr


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