2012 Wikipedia Symposium

The 2012 APS Annual Convention featured the symposium “Wikipedia in the Classroom: Initial Responses to the Call to Action.” The symposium included a status report on the APS Wikipedia Initiative and featured presentations from APS Members who used Wikipedia articles for writing assignments in their classes.

Presentations included:

Recruiting and Engaging Psychologists to the APS Wikipedia Initiative

Robert E. Kraut, Carnegie Mellon University, and Rosta Farzan, Carnegie Mellon University

In collaboration with the APS, we have been developing processes and tools to engage members of the association and their students to improve representation of psychology articles on Wikipedia. We will describe and demo tools we have developed, report on the result of the APS-Wikipedia Initiative and the lessons we have learned.

PowerPoint Slides

Translating knowledge out of the classroom: The Highs and Lows of Wikipedia as a Platform for Student Writing

Paula Marentette, University of Alberta, Canada

Over the last year I have used a Wikipedia writing assignment in two small senior psycholinguistics seminars. In this presentation I will share the highs and lows of using Wikipedia as a platform for student writing. Students were frustrated by the interface and surprised by the responses of readers. They learned a great deal about citing and referencing, and became very aware of the differences in style between the traditional academic essay and the neutral point-of-view expected on Wikipedia. Perhaps more importantly, I will discuss their transition from passive readers of psychological literature to active knowledge translators, as they struggled to convey complex concepts to a largely unknown, but certainly more general audiences.

PowerPoint Slides

Undergraduate Assignments: Editing Wikipedia Instead of Writing a Paper

Margaret P. Munger, Davidson College

Writing a literature review allows students to explore a topic, and requires learning to use library resources and to read and write about journal articles. Editing Wikipedia can also support these goals, while highlighting issues of audience, style, and civic engagement. Working in pairs, students in my 200-level lecture course edited 14 different articles, adding descriptions of just over 200 new references from the research psychology literature to Wikipedia’s content. I’ll describe the details of my assignment, along with student responses.

PowerPoint Slides

Observer Column

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Wikipedia as a Tool for E-Pedagogy

Jonathan A. Obar,  Michigan State University

Having worked as a Wikipedia Teaching Fellow for more than a year now, I’ve come to realize that using Wikipedia in the classroom as a tool for innovative e-pedagogy provides students with a variety of benefits that “traditional” assignments do not provide. Wiikipedia assignments begin, in many respects, where traditional assignments leave off. Students are still conducting research, synthesizing resources and writing. What is added is new media literacy development, engagement in a growing wiki-culture, and experience collaborating online. Students repeatedly have expressed excitement as to how they’re “leaving something behind” and contributing to the amount of information available online about their area of interest. Current research examining student responses to the Education Program (which have been quite positive) will be discussed. Challenges associated with moving away from the argumentative writing style and problems connecting to Wikipedia’s social network will also be addressed.

Using Wikipedia in a Mega Classroom: A 1,700 Student Case Study

Steve Joordens,  University of Toronto Scarborough, Canada

Students in our Introductory Psychology mega-class could earn bonus marks by signing up to the APS Wikipedia Initiative and making minor edits to two psychology-related Wikipedia entries. We describe our implementation of such a large scale assignment and report data depicting the rate of participation, the quality of the edits, and the larger impact on both students and Wikipedia Psychology content. We also highlight some of the difficulties we initially encountered and our attempts to minimize them in efforts to hone the “many small edits” approach to answering the APS Wikipedia Initiative.

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