Does editing Wikipedia change a student’s life?

Does editing Wikipedia change a student’s life?

When students edit Wikipedia, they show the world what they know, and they show themselves that they know. They’re making a statement. Not just in their contribution, but by contributing. They’re looking at what they’ve learned and they tell the world: “I know this.” That’s the difference between writing for assignments and writing for an audience.

Students make the leap from passive learning to an active expression of knowledge. They rephrase and revise their understanding as they work. They put it into their own words, they make it theirs, and pass it on. In the end, they’ve shared real knowledge with the world. But they’ve also made that knowledge distinctly their own.

“My favorite part about writing for Wikipedia was knowing that the information being presented is valuable to someone.”

— Alison Owens, student, University of Alberta-Augustana

“It feels awesome to take information squirreled away behind paywalls and share it with Wikipedia’s vast readership.”

— Conor Zeer-Wanklyn, student, University of Toronto

“I was encouraged by more than the grade. I wanted to contribute to something long-lasting, and something bigger than myself.”

— Anna Glina, student, Northeastern University

We’ve helped hundreds of instructors design courses that empower students to contribute to public knowledge. Here are just a few:

  • Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • Introduction to Translation into English
  • Applied Human Geography
  • Topics in Art History
  • Women and Writing
  • Neurobiology
  • Writing for Wikipedia
  • German Diasporas
  • Women, Art, and Culture
  • Writing Through Literature
  • Global and Cultural Perspecitives
  • Urban Sociology
  • Human Development in Global and
  • Local Communities
  • Advanced Media Studies
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Modern Art
  • American Indian Literature
  • Geotectonics
  • Global Enterprise and Sustainable
  • Development
  • Cyberlaw
  • History of Psychology
  • Molecular Immunology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Evolution of Terrestrial Planets
  • Cold War Science
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Prokaryotic Diversity
  • International Trade
  • Authors: James Joyce
  • Virology
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Introduction to Public Administration
  • Ethics for a Free World
  • History of Western Canada

“I realized I do have knowledge I can contribute.”

— Megan Maurino, student, UC Berkeley

22,000That’s how many students have taken on Wikipedia assignments since 2010.

97%The percentage of instructors who would teach with Wikipedia again.

37,000+The number of articles students have worked on.

“Students are put in that creative, uncomfortable place between their knowledge and their understanding. Do they really understand their subject, or have they just collected a bunch of sources on it? … The movement from knowing to understanding happens keystroke by keystroke.”

— Andrew Stuhl, instructor, Bucknell University

“Creating content for the broader public, as opposed to solely for one’s professor, changes the game for students. When students understand that their work will be accessible to anyone on the web, I find that it adds a measure of gravitas that sharpens focus and inspires greater diligence and responsibility.”

— Char Booth, instructor, Pomona College

We change the lives of students by helping students change the world.

The Wiki Education Foundation is accelerating global access to information by connecting higher education resources to the publishing power of Wikipedia. The foundation cultivates learning that enriches Wikipedia and universities, creating a world where any learner can contribute to open scholarship and education for all.