What to try next: Wikipedia assignment ideas across disciplines

By on January 23, 2020

What to try next: Wikipedia assignment ideas across disciplines

By on January 23, 2020

What to try next: Wikipedia assignment ideas across disciplines

Looking for inspiration for your course this spring? These instructors are raving about how easy it is to adapt the Wikipedia assignment to their own disciplines. Sign up on the Dashboard today and follow their roadmaps!

  • Archaeology: Dr. Kate Grillo published an article last year about the value of a Wikipedia assignment in archaeology courses. The paper, which she published along with Daniel Contreras, ultimately concludes that “Wikipedia’s popularity and reach mean that archaeologists should actively engage with the website by adding and improving archaeological content.” Read more…
  • Architecture: Dr. Anthony Denzer, an Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering, shares how he sells the Wikipedia writing assignment to his students and all the reasons he plans to conduct the assignment again in future terms. “Was it a success? Absolutely.” Read more…
  • Biographies of women in STEM: So many women in STEM don’t have a Wikipedia biography until they’ve been recognized in a huge way. But thanks to Dr. Rebecca Barnes’s student at Colorado College, paleoclimatologist Dr. Andrea Dutton already had one even before she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow last year. Read more…
  • Composition: “What better way to teach research and writing skills than by using a platform that virtually ALL students already use, and one that has been universally forbidden to them as a research source throughout high school?” Read more…
  • English and anthropology: Dr. Gardner Campbell shares that the results of his Wikipedia assignment “far exceed” his expectations. “When the nature of an assignment leads to discovery, not simply to compliance, the learning becomes the students’ own.” Read more…
  • Gender studies: In their research analysis of the Wikipedia assignment, Dr. Ariella Rotramel, Rebecca Parmer, and Rose Oliveira of Connecticut College conclude that the assignment works well with feminist curricula, prepares students for careers, and fosters effective collaboration among faculty. Read more…
  • Early American history: The very thing about the assignment that some students found intimidating (writing for the public), was what made Rachel Van fall in love with it. She found that students asked themselves, Were they right in how they represented the history? Was their research fair to the subject? “These were the very things I wanted them to contemplate.” Read more…
  • Local history: Dr. Jason Todd tells the story of his students at Xavier University of Louisiana, who dramatically improved the Wikipedia article of their local town, saving the area from erasure in cultural memory. Read more…
  • Local and religious history: Dr. Heather Sharkey invited students to write Wikipedia pages about topics related to Muslim, Christian, or Jewish built structures. The class chose to create a new page for a local mosque near the Penn campus. “The students loved writing this page because they often pass this mosque on the street. They say that it has given them a sense of connection to this building and its community, which is part of the larger West Philadelphia neighborhood.” Read more…
  • History of science: What happens when students are confronted with a potential audience of 500 million? Dr. Alexandra Edwards can tell you. Read more…
  • Information science: Trudi Jacobson explains how she wove a Wikipedia writing assignment together with the six frameworks of information literacy. Read more…
  • Journalism: Dr. Melony Shemberger provides her framework for teaching Wikipedia writing assignments in the journalism classroom. Her work was even selected as a winning entry in a teaching contest at last year’s Association for the Education of Journalism and Mass Communication annual conference. Read more…
  • Medicine: For the group of med students who made the most significant improvement to their assigned Wikipedia pages, Melissa Kahili-Heede and Dr. Richard Kasuya would throw them a pizza party. The result was a classroom experience that promoted social responsibility, digital literacy, and some friendly competition! Read more…
  • Medicine: Instructional designer Johnathon Neist shares why a Wikipedia writing assignment is a great fit for medical school curricula. Read more…
  • Media studies: What does it mean for students to join the “Wikipedia ecosystem”? Dr. Carolyn Cunningham reflects on a Wikipedia writing assignment from a media studies perspective. Read more…
  • Music: Even small classes, like Dr. Michael Rushing’s piano pedagogy course at Mississippi College, can make a big difference on Wikipedia. Read more…
  • Public health: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recognized the course we supported at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as an effective way to make occupational safety information available to the public. Read more…
  • Science communication: How can students build their confidence as science communicators while also navigating the tricky new problems brought up by the internet/digital age? Sarah Mojarad shares why she comes back to the Wikipedia writing assignment with her students year after year. Read more…

Interested in adapting a Wikipedia writing assignment for your own course? Visit teach.wikiedu.org for access to our free assignment templates and tools.

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