This week, Wiki Education is attending the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) annual meeting in New Orleans. At last year’s meeting, we met dozens of scientists interested in teaching students how to communicate science through Wikipedia assignments. In the year since, we’ve supported seven resulting courses as students learned how to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of geology and earth science.
In Wiki Education’s Classroom Program, we provide the toolkit students need to become contributors to the world’s most widely read online encyclopedia. For several weeks in the semester, students identify missing pieces of a Wikipedia article related to their course, research the topic, and learn how to add well-sourced information to fill in those gaps. We’ve worked with earth science courses over the years, which is why we created a guide for students editing environmental science articles.
University students often question the purpose of their classroom assignments. The Wikipedia assignment presents opportunities to discuss student learning outcomes of a real-world assignment. Through such a project, students begin to understand the vast knowledge contained within academic silos that has yet to be disseminated to the broader public. Along the way, they realize their own agency in curbing these inequities. Students are helping combat the gender biases on Wikipedia that mimic the gender biases in STEM fields. They’re writing about geological formations and fluid dynamics and remote sensing. In the process of educating themselves, they’re creating opportunities for other future geologists who may not have access to libraries full of journal subscriptions. By learning how to channel their classroom labor to Wikipedia, they’re amplifying the impact of their own higher education.
If you’re attending AGU’s meeting this week, drop by the exhibit hall to discuss potential assignments with me. To join Wiki Education’s Classroom Program and teach students how to contribute to public knowledge in the earth sciences, visit teach.wikiedu.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.