SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 23, 2018 — Wiki Education’s program to support university students who write Wikipedia articles as a class assignment has now added more than 44 million words to the encyclopedia, more than the total content in the last print edition of Encyclopædia Britannica.
The San Francisco-based nonprofit runs a variety of programs to support subject matter experts to contribute content to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. In its flagship program, Wiki Education supports college and university faculty in the United States and Canada who assign their students to improve course-related topics on Wikipedia. In place of a traditional research paper or the literature review section of a longer analytical paper, students instead create or expand course-related articles on Wikipedia.
The last print edition of Encyclopædia Britannica contained 44 million words in 32 volumes. Nearly 8,000 student editors in Wiki Education’s program are actively working on improving articles for their Spring 2018 term assignments, bringing the sum total of content added from the program since 2010 to more than 44 million words.
“I’m proud of the hard work students have done to improve this resource that we all use every day,” said Wiki Education Executive Director Frank Schulenburg. “They’ve provided Wikipedia’s millions of readers with trustworthy knowledge cited to academic sources. This is a proud milestone for our organization and for our continued efforts to ensure the public has access to reliable information.”
The public looks to Wikipedia for information to make political, social, and medical decisions. The information they find, therefore, has the potential to make a real impact on their lives and those of others. Involving students in ensuring the quality of that information, and in closing gaps in Wikipedia’s existing content, engages students in digital literacy practices and provides skills that they can take with them to assess trustworthy information in the future. Students also contribute academic research, often restricted behind paywalls, to a free resource that millions use, improving the public’s access to factual information in the age of fake news.
Since 2010, more than 43,000 undergraduate and graduate students have learned how to edit Wikipedia through Wiki Education program. With assignment design help and tracking software, Wiki Education has supported more than 1,000 instructors from more than 500 academic institutions in this kind of assignment. Students have improved Wikipedia articles about all academic disciplines, synthesizing academic sources in class and bringing that knowledge to the accessible public forum.
About Wiki Education
Wiki Education serves as the bridge between academia and Wikipedia. A small 501(c)3 nonprofit, Wiki Education runs programs that seek to build connections between universities and Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in the United States and Canada. In Wiki Education’s most established program, university instructors assign their students to add content to course-related articles on Wikipedia. Students gain key 21st century skills like media literacy, writing and research development, and critical thinking, while content gaps on Wikipedia get filled thanks to students’ efforts.