Learning about primates — and Wikipedia

Diego Wittembury Escobar standing on street
Diego Wittembury Escobar
Image courtesy Diego Wittembury Escobar, all rights reserved.

Diego Whittembury Escobar hadn’t ever considered writing for Wikipedia before. He had always assumed that it was too complex, or that he wasn’t qualified. But that all changed for Diego when he signed up for a course on Primate Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation taught by Sarah Turner at Concordia University.

“I discovered that I am able to, and that it can even be very fulfilling,” Diego explains.

Diego significantly expanded the article on Azaras’s capuchin. He chose the species because its habitat is primarily in Brazil, relatively close to Diego’s home country of Venezuela. Diego says writing on a primate that’s local to his home continent felt more personal than writing about one from another part of the world.

Using Wiki Education’s training modules, Diego learned how to expand the article.

“I learned the dedication that it takes to create such a good information platform such as Wikipedia,” Diego explains. “I also learned that even though anyone can write anything in any article, it takes strict sourcing and a certain style of writing to properly contribute to Wikipedia.”

These learnings were valuable to Diego, and he’s encouraged his professor to keep teaching with Wikipedia in that course through Wiki Education’s Wikipedia Student Program.

“It was a very unique assignment that taught me many things about the selected species, and about how to do research and write about it,” Diego says. “It also showed me that this platform that we all enjoy all the time (Wikipedia) is only possible with the efforts of people like us, which is very motivating.”

Diego says his favorite part was Googling the Azaras’s capuchin and seeing his work appear as the top result. Armed with the knowledge from editing Wikipedia for this course, he intends to keep improving other species articles.

“I would like if more people could see how fulfilling it is to contribute to a platform that benefits everyone,” he says.

Image credit: Alexandre Pereira, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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