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Monday, October 18 • 1:00pm - 1:40pm
The Wikipedia Assignment as Open Education Praxis

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Digital literacy is no longer a “nice-to-have” for today’s students. It’s a critical skill whose importance continues to grow in the face of an ever-changing media landscape. What’s more, it’s not enough. Knowing how to distinguish reliable information from the unreliable is just the beginning. Digital literacy is one key component of forming a community of “digital citizens” who strive to produce, consume, and share knowledge accurately, accessibly, and equitably.

In 2010, the Wikipedia Student Program launched to help students at institutions of higher education achieve the above goals all while improving Wikipedia content. The program is a simple but powerful concept. Students from institutions across the U.S. and Canada contribute to Wikipedia as a course assignment. Students are in an incredibly privileged position vis-a-vis knowledge. They have access to sources that are often behind paywalls for the population at large, and they have their professors - subject-matter experts in their field - to guide them. As the world’s largest encyclopedia, open to all to both read and edit, Wikipedia is an open educational resource par excellence. By contributing to Wikipedia, students are participating in open collaboration, open knowledge production, and ultimately opening up knowledge access to the population at large.

In this panel, you’ll hear from three faculty who have used the Wikipedia assignment in their courses. They represent the fields of Engineering Writing, Middle Eastern Studies, and African American Literature. Topics to be explored include: the production and dissemination of knowledge in a global context, collaborative knowledge production and authorship, developing a public voice, Wikipedia’s limitations and bias, issues around access to knowledge and equity, as well as what it means to produce knowledge ethically and responsibly.

Since its inception in 2010, over 90,000 students have added roughly 76 million words to Wikipedia in partnership with Wiki Education. Their work has been viewed hundreds of millions of times. In this panel, we’ll explore what these grand numbers mean for students, faculty, and pedagogical practice in higher education.

After participating in this session, attendees will be able to:
  • Learn how faculty are using the Wikipedia assignment as open pedagogy
  • Attendees will learn about different ways to implement the Wikipedia assignment-i.e. how the assignment differs according to subject-area, class size, type of institution
  • Learn about the different pedagogical and learning outcomes from having their students contribute to Wikipedia-i.e. the skills students obtain from contributing to Wikipedia, how the Wikipedia assignment affects student-instructor relations, how the assignment helps develop digital literacy and citizenship in students
  • Learn about both the triumphs and challenges of asking students to contribute to open knowledge-i.e. tackling issues of bias, engaging in online communities, what it means to have knowledge privilege and the responsibilities therein


Helaine Blumenthal

Senior Program Manager, Wiki Education

Delia Steverson

Assistant Professor of African American Literature, University of Florida
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Helen Choi

Senior Lecturer, University of Southern California
avatar for Heather J. Sharkey

Heather J. Sharkey

Professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania
I am a historian of the modern Middle East and North Africa!

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How to Join Live Sessions

Live sessions will be held throughout the day. Return to the session page shortly before the start time for a link to join the Zoom room. The join button will only be visible to logged in attendees. See the FAQ for more details.Live session formats include panels, presentations, discussions, and open space sessions. Most presentations and panels are recorded and posted by the next day. Discussions and open space sessions may not be recorded, so make sure to attend live.Note that live sessions begin on time, and the capacity... Read More →

Monday October 18, 2021 1:00pm - 1:40pm EDT
Room D