Wiki Education has been awarded a Spark Grant for their Wikipedia Student Program. This program supports Wikipedia writing assignments in higher education, giving students the rare and powerful opportunity to write for a real audience as part of their course work. The assignments go from guided critical thinking about Wikipedia pages — how they are constructed, what sources they use, what they cover and what they exclude — to exploration of gaps and problems, to developing a bibliography for a particular topic, to outlining and drafting, to peer review, to publishing and, finally, to polishing. Through this work students develop information literacy in addition to technical and teamwork skills needed for their future careers, as well as for improving writing skills and mastering the course subject matter. Currently over 16,000 students are involved in the program on an annual basis. So far, students have added over 65 million words, which is the equivalent of 43 volumes of a printed encyclopedia, and they account for almost one fifth of new active editors on Wikipedia.
The Spark Grant will allow Wiki Education to overhaul the Student Program Dashboard’s user experience for students, tying the key stages of a well-scaffolded Wikipedia assignment directly into the interface so that students can always see the next task at hand and find the relevant resources and training materials for each stage of the assignment. With this overhaul, instead of students needing to learn the concepts of a Wikipedia sandbox and how to locate theirs, and then later how to find their classmates’ sandbox drafts to review, the updated software will point them right where they need to go. Students will have an easier time diving into Wikipedia and moving through the stages of their writing assignment, and they will require less help along the way. These changes will leave more time to spend on the pedagogically innovative core of the Wikipedia classroom project, and increase student and instructor satisfaction.
The Michelson 20MM Foundation and its initiatives are made possible by the generous support of Gary K. Michelson, M.D. and his wife, Alya Michelson. We will be conducting Phase 3 of the Michelson Spark Grant program in Q1 of 2020. To learn more please visit our webpage.
This blog was originally published on the Michelson 20MM website, and has been republished here with permission.