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 an assignment 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 knowledge 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.
In a study of our program participants, conducted during the Fall 2016 term, we found that students gain real skills through engagement with Wikipedia. Having completed a Wikipedia assignment, students take away digital literacy skills, critical research skills, the ability to write for a public audience, collaboration skills, and increased motivation in their work.
“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:
“I realized I do have knowledge I can contribute.”
— Megan Maurino, student, UC Berkeley
102,000+That’s how many students have taken on Wikipedia assignments since 2010.
97%The percentage of instructors who would teach with Wikipedia again.
116,000+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.
Wiki Education is accelerating global access to information by connecting higher education resources to the publishing power of Wikipedia. The organization cultivates learning that enriches Wikipedia and universities, creating a world where any learner can contribute to open scholarship and education for all.