Tag Archives: wikimedia

Opening up our minds to Wikipedia at OER13

Pete and Sarah sharing their knowledge of Wikipedia (and their brown bag lunches) with us

Sarah and Pete sharing their Wikipedia knowledge (and their brown-bag lunches) with the POERUP team at OER13 (CC-BY)

Wikipedia and the OER community – natural bedfellows? One would think yes, but the reality is, according to Pete Forsyth and Sarah Frank Bristow of CommunicateOER, those of us who are involved in OER projects and programmes tend to play a very limited role in creating and editing Wikipedia articles. The focus of Pete and Sarah’s session today was to raise our awareness of the need for volunteers to improve the existing articles on OERs and related topics. See, for example, the entry on Open Educational Resources, which at the time of writing, has only the briefest statements on “Definition” and “Aspirations of the OER movement”.

One of the reasons for the lack of activity on Wikipedia may be that we feel a bit daunted by the Wiki markup technology that confronts us when we hit the “edit” button. CommunicateOER and the P2PU School of Open are offering a MOOC-type course at the moment, Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond. It has just started, but is still open to anyone who wants to join in and is willing to catch up.

Wikipedia Education Program: open educational practice on a global scale #abs70

Martin Poulter a volunteer for Wikipedia, presented a passionate defense of the idea and practice of writing articles for Wikipedia, as digital literacy and open practice. In fact, the sort of skills required to successfully write an article on Wikipedia — digital literacy, critical thinking, good review practice, and it helps to be a pedant — are not far away from the skills we hope any HE degree student would demonstrate and learn.

Martin Poulter of Wikipedia

Martin Poulter of Wikipedia

Martin advocated incorporating the writing of good, well-researched and well-referenced Wikipedia articles into a course as a form of assessment, allowing students to research, write, post, and defend their own work on some stopic. Wikimedia offers to come in and help with this process — hence, the Wikipedia Education Program. Martin made a compelling case for this sort of incorporation of open educational practice into formal learning and it made me wonder why I don’t write more Wikipedia articles myself.

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist, University of Leicester