UCLA Wiki Scholars

UCLA Wiki Scholars

“The public looks to Wikipedia to make informed political decisions. If I can make that information more accurate and complete, that’s a good use of my time.”

In conjunction with OpenUCLA and to expand UCLA’s reach to the public, UCLA has sponsored a virtual course for up to 20 UCLA librarians, faculty, and graduate students. Los Angeles-area residents interested in Wikipedia and open knowledge are also eligible to apply. From November 4–December 9, 2020, Wiki Education will host weekly synchronous classes on Wednesdays from 1:00–2:00pm Pacific to guide participants as they incorporate research into Wikipedia. Wikipedia experts at Wiki Education will facilitate collaborative group sessions among scholars to immerse them in Wikipedia’s technical, procedural, and cultural practices. The cohort of UCLA Wiki Scholars will expand their involvement in the open knowledge community, helping celebrate the UCLA Centennial and its emphasis on Open Access. Together, we’ll reach millions of readers with reliable information.

Each scholar will use UCLA’s publications and archives to significantly expand at least one Wikipedia article, dedicating time each week to research and write about the topic of their choice. Participants will have the flexibility to select a Wikipedia article from a range of academic topics. UCLA Wiki Scholars may choose to work on and improve pages related to library science, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, racial justice and the Black Lives Matter protests, the US election, Los Angeles, or any topic related to their personal areas of study or interest.




Why Wikipedia?

In 2018, the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted 7 million in-person visitors and 29 million website visitors. In that same timeframe, Wikipedia’s information about the Met and its collections reached 190 million people. 500 million readers come to Wikipedia each month, looking for information they can use to shape their understanding of topics, their behavior, their voting decisions, and the world. In a 2018 MIT publication, researchers found correlational and causal evidence that Wikipedia itself shapes scientific literature and knowledge.

Wikipedia plays a crucial role in knowledge dissemination—both in reaching the non-academic public and in influencing the state of academic knowledge—and scholars are eager to amplify their impact on public knowledge. Wikipedia is a powerful, high-impact way to do that, but the barriers for entry can deter newcomers. That’s why Wiki Education runs virtual training courses for faculty, scholars, and subject-matter experts, allowing experts the dedicated time and support they need to grant the world access to their knowledge.

Why a course?

Newcomers to the Wikipedia community typically face a variety of barriers to inclusion: from not knowing the mechanics of adding content to being unaware of content standards and editing norms. Our course instructor is here to invite you in, help you navigate the Wikipedia editing community, and answer any questions that come up through the process.

These seats are open to UCLA-affiliated librarians, faculty, or graduate students, as well as Los Angeles-based residents interested in collaborating with each other and experts as they add to Wikipedia.


Expectations of participants

  • No experience with Wikipedia is required or expected.
  • Available for virtual meetings on Zoom, weekly for one hour.
  • Participants commit a minimum of 3 hours/week, including a one-hour weekly class and independent work.
  • Participants will make significant contributions to at least one Wikipedia page by the end of the course.
  • Participants must have access to the internet and a computer.
  • Participants will fill out a short survey at the end of the course.
  • Select participants will get the opportunity to be featured on Wiki Education’s blog.


Course details: Enroll by Friday, October 30th

  • Course dates: November 4–December 9, 2020
  • Meeting time: Wednesdays, 1:00–2:00pm Pacific
  • Time commitment per week: 1 hour virtual, collaborative meeting; ~2 additional hours of independent work
  • Cost: The full cost of enrollment in this course has been covered by the University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Goal: to give UCLA-affiliated or LA-area librarians, faculty, and graduate students the opportunity to learn more about how Wikipedia works, so they may participate in building the encyclopedia, advise students and faculty, or join the broader OER community.



If you’re interested in learning how to add to Wikipedia, please fill out the form below to receive updates on future course opportunities. Direct any questions here or to jami@wikiedu.org.


Header image by en:Siouxsie Wiles, en:Toby Morris (cartoonist) (CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons).