Internal and external research and feedback continue to highlight challenges regarding digital and information skills for students (Newman, Beetham and Knight, 2018). A three-week full-time module was designed for third year undergraduate medical students to situate teaching of these skills and literacies within the context of editing Wikipedia. The self-selected module had eight students for the first iteration.
The aim was to augment the students’ practical skills whilst also challenging them further with regards digital citizenship, specifically around diversity and openness. Not only were the students learning from existing open resources, but they would be contributing to a global open project. Careful attention was paid to ensuring this was conducted in a safe and supportive environment.
The course blended workshops with self-directed study time. Assessment consisted of an oral presentation, reflective diary and writing for Wikipedia. Workshops covered getting started as a Wikipedia editor, finding reliable and quality academic resources, referencing systems and software, photography, image editing and copyright. Microsoft Teams housed supporting resources and provided the channel for primary communications.
Class discussions centred around issues regarding the lack of diversity of Wikipedia contributors, creating open non-disposable assignments and universities as gatekeepers of knowledge (Boboltz, 2015). Positive outcomes not only included augmented study skills, but also around autonomy and creativity, which culminated in new and edited Wikipedia content. Facing the challenges associated with the process such as content roll back further enriched the learning experience. Students reported being better prepared for their academic futures.
The session will share what we learned by weaving digital and information literacies and skills around writing for Wikipedia. It will include feedback from students and how their perceptions around Wikipedia as an open resource were both challenged and changed throughout the course. Skills were gained from interacting with people outside the medical programme and from participant in an open arena. It will also serve to highlight how creative approaches to assessment can ensure this is conducted in a safe and supportive way.
Boboltz, S. (2015). Editors Are Trying To Fix Wikipedia’s Gender And Racial Bias Problem. [online] HuffPost UK. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/wikipedia-gender-racial-bias_n_7054550?guccounter=1&guce_referrer_us=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_cs=p3trXdyhN-hbUzwLIp5dIw [Accessed 1 Dec. 2018].
Newman, T., Beetham, H. and Knight, S. (2018). Digital experience insights survey 2018: findings from students in UK further and higher education. [online] Jisc. Available at: http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6967/1/Digital_experience_insights_survey_2018.pdf [Accessed 1 Dec. 2018].