Universities/University of Glasgow
Course title and institution: Dental Student Wikipedia Project
Short assignment summary: Composing new articles and editing existing articles, using Wikipedia as a unique tool in developing the following areas; building digital literacy, evaluate and use research effectively, communicate effectively in writing/summarizing, writing for a non-specialist audience, exercise effective interpersonal communication skills, practice self-assessment, incorporate processing skills, conflict resolution, build individual accountability, attain familiarity with copyright laws, learn about plagiarism, problem solving and improving presentation skills.
Course Leader: Dr. David Cross. Subject experts: Dr. David Cross, Dr Viv Binnie, Dr Laura Cross, Professor David Conway, Dr Alun Scott.
Class size - 28 students
Course duration: 2 academic terms
Increased knowledge of Wikipedia Increased interest in the Wikipedia community Developing writing and summarising skills suited for a public audience Increasing information & media literacy and critical thinking Introducing collaborative working, writing, and other skills well suited to be transferred to future academic and work-based settings Increased sophistication in research skills
Expanded summary: Students from second to fifth year were invited to an information lecture about the Wikipedia project. A student President was elected to act as a focal point and links made to the wider dental Wikipedia community in Scotland. Students were asked to complete a pre-course questionnaire on Wikipedia before the work began. The students were allowed to pick a dental topic of interest and then divided into groups to discuss further. Each group was assigned a topic expert from the staff at the Glasgow Dental Hospital that they could contact if help or guidance was needed within the specialist subject areas. Within their separate groups, the students each researched, synthesised and developed either one existing article, or created a new article on Wikipedia within the field of dental surgery. The topics chosen by the students were; Occupational Risks in Dentistry, Orthodontic Indices, Dental Bridges including the Dahl Effect, Inhalational Sedation, Orthodontic Indices and Oral Cancer: Aetiology and Epidemiology. A total of 28 students took part in the project and attended several progress meeting to discuss and share experiences. At the final meeting of the group they presented their work to the other participants. Some of the students presented their work either in person or digitally, at a meeting at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee along with work from other dental schools in the UK and USA.
Assessment: Formative only. Pre and post course online questionnaire on knowledge of Wikipedia and feedback after course. Peer assessment of involvement, respect for others, preparedness, attitude and willingness to share workload.
Feedback: Students had a variety of reasons for becoming involved in the project with an existing interest in and frequent use of Wikipedia the most common. The chance to enhance knowledge in a chosen area of Dental Surgery was another recurring reason and a chance to acquire new skills another. Interestingly, although over 96% of students used Wikipedia more than once per month and over 93% we at least somewhat confident that they could edit an existing Wikipedia article, only 30% were aware or had even heard of the five pillars at the outset of the project.
On completion of the project, 100% of students now used Wikipedia at least once per month, and 100% were now at least somewhat confident that they could edit an existing article. Further, 100% were aware of, and could recall, the five pillars.
At the end of the project 17 students attended the last editing and presentation session with 70% rating their experience good and 30% rating their experience exceptional. It has been agreed to continue the project for next academic year.