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X-Posted from H-NET List for African History and Culture <H-AFRICA@H-NET.MSU.EDU> From: Elena Vezzadini <vezzadini@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU> _______________ QUERY The topic of whether and how to use Wikipedia in African studies classes was first discussed on H-Africa almost 8 years ago, and then again on several other occasions./1 A recent news item on Wikipedia has me returning to this subject once more, with the thought that it might be a good time to take stock. Has anyone been incorporating contributions to Wikipedia (or any similar online wiki) on course-related topics as an element of the assigned work? How has that worked? Recommendations? The abovementioned news items concerns a course for 4th year medical students at UC-San Francisco, in which the students can actually get credit for contributions to Wikipedia./2 Although the context of this effort is particular to concerns of medical school, I think it illustrates again the potential of collaborative online knowledge sharing for teaching. (The articles are intended to benefit another program involving translating basic health articles into other languages for dissemination via Wikipedia.) Thanks in advance for any feedback. Don Osborn -------- 1. There appear to be four threads on H-Africa have some substantive discussions about Wikipedia and African studies: December 2005 "Wikipedia Contributions" (thread began with a contribution entitled simply "Wikipedia") http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=lx&sort=3&list=H-Africa&month =0512&week=&user=&pw= August 2006 "Wikipedia, academia, and 'Wikimania'" http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=lx&sort=3&list=H-Africa&month =0608&week=&user=&pw= October 2007 "Africa on Wikipedia" (short thread that began with a very skeptical post) http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=lx&sort=3&list=H-Africa&month =0710&week=&user=&pw= November 2012 "WikiAfrica: 30,000 African contributions reached on Wikipedia" http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=lx&sort=3&list=H-Africa&month =1211&week=&user=&pw= 2. "Editing Wikipedia Pages for Med School Credit," New York Times, 30 September 2013 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/30/business/media/editing-wikipedia-pages-fo r-med-school-credit.html _______________ REPLY 1 From: "Anthony A. Lee" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Sunday, December 1, 2013 9:18 PM Whether or not we, as instructors, choose to incorporate articles on Wikipedia into our student assignments or put them into the syllabus, we can be certain that every student is consulting those articles during the course, in any case. If we want to prevent students from using Wikipedia, someone will have to suggest how to keep that from happening. Wikipedia being inevitable then, it is important that students be taught how to use it carefully and wisely. They have to be taught to think critically about a text, to interrogate an internet source, to ask questions. Wikipedia can often be useful as a first stop in student research--for an overview, bibliography, links to other websites, etc. But of course, students must learn to follow up on those leads, and not just end their research with the Wikipedia article. Anthony A. Lee, Ph.D. West Los Angeles College -------------- REPLY 2 From: Jos Damen <email@example.com> Date: Monday, December 2, 2013 1:53 AM Dear Don, The African Studies Centre in Leiden has some experience in bringing Wikipedia & African Studies together. 1. The African Studies Centre in Leiden is secretary of a project Wikipedians in Special Residence (Nov. 2013 - Dec. 2014), in which two so called Wikipedians visit 12 libraries & centres of cultural heritage in the Netherlands, for a period of two months at each centre (Rijksmuseum, Film Institute EYE, Peace Palace, ASC Leiden & 8 others). The intention is to gain mutual benefit: Wikipedia will profit from the knowledge and collections of the institutions; the institutions will have more knowledge about bringing their collections out in the open, about copyright and about valorization of science. More about Wikipedians in Residence in general: https://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikipedian_in_Residence (incl a list of 52 institutions working with a Wikipedian in Residence) Crash course for researchers (with emphasis on Africa): https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:GLAM/Wikipedians_in_Special_Residen ce/Crash_course 2. During the last five years of the course African Studies on the Web in the Research Master African Studies at Leiden University, students were asked to write a Wikipedia entry on an "African" subject. This resulted in interesting articles, teached students how to deal with editing by unknown others and learned them the importance of references, notes, external links and bibliographies. 3. In April 2009, the ASC Leiden started a Wikipedia entry on African Studies Journals, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_studies_journals Though heavily curtailed shortly after, this entry stimulated the genesis of several separate entries on African Studies Journals. Best regards, Jos Damen African Studies Centre, Leiden www.ascleiden.nl The Netherlands --