Yesterday, Wiki Education was at Palo Alto University for their first annual Evidence-Based Teaching Conference. I presented alongside Dr. Patty Brooks, Professor at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York and Doctoral Faculty at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and Elizabeth Che, a doctoral student at The Graduate Center. We shared with conference attendees the benefits and challenges of teaching with Wikipedia in the psychology classroom and why students should add more biographies of women psychologists to the encyclopedia.
As Dr. Brooks and her colleagues have documented on our blog before, students may feel anxious when they are assigned to contribute to Wikipedia, as it is an unfamiliar community and space for them to exhibit content mastery. However, thanks to Wiki Education’s online training modules, editing guide to Psychology requirements on Wikipedia, and support from their instructors, most students complete the assignment and reflect positively on the learning process. This experience aligns with what Dr. Zach McDowell learned while researching student learning outcomes of Wikipedia assignments.
At Palo Alto University’s event yesterday, attendees asked important questions about student motivation and whether the academic view of Wikipedia’s quality has shifted in the past decade. Dr. Brooks shared a compelling argument about the value for students to learn how to investigate information on Wikipedia, similar to her own childhood use of other print encyclopedias. As for student motivation, we know both anecdotally and from Dr. McDowell’s research that students are highly motivated to work hard when they understand their purpose and audience.
We are looking forward to working with more psychology students as they learn the ropes on Wikipedia, sharing high-quality, well-cited information with the public. If you’re an instructor interested in teaching with Wikipedia with psychology students, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any clinical psychologists who are experienced Wikipedia editors should consider applying for our open Visiting Scholars position at the University of North Carolina. Join us as we make important psychology research available to the world.