Expert outreach/Jisc Ambassador/Jisc Digital Festival 2014

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As part of the Jisc/Wikimedia UK partnership, Martin Poulter had two sessions accepted for the Jisc Digital Festival which took place on 11th and 12th March in Birmingham, during Open Education Week. Both sessions were on the first day.

Wikipedia: a platform for learners as producers[edit | edit source]

"Looking under the bonnet" of Wikipedia's open publication process is a chance to promote an informed, appropriately critical understanding of the free encyclopaedia that learners are already using ubiquitously. Discussing and challenging Wikipedia policies could support the teaching of general information literacy at any level. When learners improve or review Wikipedia articles, this involves them in defining established knowledge in their subjects.

To date, more than 500 course leaders in universities have set assignments in which students improve Wikipedia articles for course credit. In some areas such as psychology, management or politics, a large proportion of Wikipedia’s quality content has been produced by learners. In turn, the learners get to experience publication and review, where they are expected to read, analyse, write, and reference to a high standard.

According to the Wikimedia Foundation, a great majority of students surveyed say they prefer Wikipedia assignments to traditional assignments, and find writing for a global audience motivating. On the negative side, writing for the public can be daunting, Wikipedia’s encyclopaedic style can be hard to adjust to, and Wikipedian feedback can be blunt. So a Wikipedia assignment cannot be wandered into. It needs advance planning and careful monitoring. This session will discuss some possibilities and some lessons learned.

3 key benefits/ take aways
  • Learn about “behind the scenes” features that enhance the use of Wikipedia’s open process as a teaching tool.
  • Understand the risks associated with Wikipedia as a platform for student work and what has been learned about mitigating those risks.
  • Understand the steps that would be needed to run or support a Wikipedia assignment.
Target audiences
  • Heads of Libraries/Information Services/Library Managers
  • Heads/Managers of eLearning/Learning & Teaching
  • Learning Technologists
  • Lecturers

Outcomes[edit | edit source]

There were 22 attendees. A handful were academics, a handful were librarians, one pure researcher, one manager and many more learning technologists/ learning-related staff.

At the end, a dozen of the attendees (most of them women) expressed an interest in editing Wikipedia themselves. These were all given copies of the Welcome to Wikipedia brochure.

The session was live-tweeted and the tweets are archived here.

Getting seen on Wikipedia and Wikimedia: a Jisc helpdesk[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia and its sister projects are a first, but not final, point of call for hundreds of millions of learners around the world. Getting your research or your digital content visible on Wikimedia sites is a way to encourage awareness, reuse, and citations. However, this involves navigating the complex, often obscure, objectives and guidelines of the Wikimedia community. While there are examples of simple engagement having a massive reach, there are also some horror stories of clashes with Wikimedia’s volunteer editors.

The Jisc/Wikimedia UK partnership, running for the past nine months, has produced documentation and events to help researchers, educators, and content holders work constructively with Wikimedia for mutual benefit. It has involved appointing an ambassador between the Jisc and Wikimedia communities.This surgery will share the outputs of this work and also give attendees a Wikimedia insider’s perspective on their own projects, research, digital content, or other work.

3 key benefits/ take aways
  • An awareness of the different Wikimedia projects and some ways that they benefit scholars, educators, and content-holders who engage with them.
  • Advice – tailored for the attendees’ institutions or projects – on “next steps” in working with the Wikimedia projects, including how to get appropriate attribution, branding and web links.
  • Realistic assessment of pitfalls and risks of sharing material through Wikimedia.
Target audiences
  • IT Directors/Managers
  • Heads of Libraries/Information Services/Library Managers
  • Heads/Managers of eLearning/Learning & Teaching
  • Learning Technologists
  • Research Directors/Managers/Researchers
  • Lecturers

Outcomes[edit | edit source]

Only three people attended this session, plus a PR person who was writing a blog post about my activity.

One was an employee of the newly formed Francis Crick Institute based in London, who had attended Wikipedia editathons but had not had time for further Wikipedia activity despite being keen. We will stay in touch about running an editathon at the Institute.

The other attendees were librarians from the Netherlands who had written a report about Authority Control. They were unaware of, and interested to learn about, the authority control template on Wikipedia and the way Wikipedia automatically cross-references VIAF identifiers to the relevant national databases. I showed how Wikipedia could be a way to share and discover VIAF and ORCID identifiers of notable individuals. They were also unaware of Wikidata: I was able to demonstrate how Wikidata is edited and describe how Wikidata will update Wikipedia content in future. They are interested in staying in touch to learn more.

This page has been created as part of the 2013-14 partnership between Jisc and Wikimedia UK
Jisc logo.png Wikimedia UK logo 40px.png