Online Course: Communicating Science on Wikipedia
Monday, September 2 - Friday, October 25, 2019
Why Should You Become a Wiki Scientist?
Wiki Scientists have a unique opportunity to expand their science communication toolkit and reach the knowledge-seeking, lay public. Wikipedia provides scientists with a way to communicate their work and share the latest scientific information with a vast global audience.
However, writing for Wikipedia is different from the academic writing that most scientists are accustomed to, so it’s important to learn the nuances of creating new articles and contributing to already-existing content on the site. Fortunately, Wiki Education has developed an infrastructure that scientists can use to systematically improve Wikipedia’s coverage of science.
You don’t need any prior experience with Wikipedia to participate in this eight-week virtual course. You’ll meet one hour per week, from 3-4 pm ET on Tuesdays via Zoom, and there will be an additional 2+ hours of work you must complete on your own. Overall, you should be prepared to commit about 3 hours per week to the course.
What Can You Expect to Learn?
You’ll learn to navigate Wikipedia’s technical, procedural, and cultural practices as you create, expand on, and/or improve articles in your field. By the end of the course, you can expect to make significant contributions to at least one Wikipedia article.
You’ll also gain knowledge about open access resources as well as acquire skills in Wikicoding and digital literacy, which you’ll be able to apply to a wide range of careers and scholarship work.
- Understand how and why Wikipedia is important both for the public and for the future of scientific fields.
- Learn Wikipedia's policies and guidelines such as verifiability, neutral point of view, and notability.
- Understand the processes of coordination and collaboration that take place behind the scenes on Wikipedia.
- Learn the differences between academic writing and Wikipedia writing.
- Gain insight about the kinds of people who volunteer their time on Wikipedia.
- Learn about and engage with the Wikipedia community and its resources.
- Understand the systemic biases of Wikipedia and why they matter.
- Differentiate between sources Wikipedia considers reliable or unreliable based on context.
- Make multiple minor improvements to articles on scientific topics on Wikipedia.
- Substantially improve at least one Wikipedia article on a scientific topic.
“As an academic, one of my goals is to ensure that the information [I] generate finds its way into the hands of [other] people who need to use it. Being a Wiki Scientist provided me a tremendous opportunity to fulfill this goal.”
— Doctoral student
“I enjoyed speaking with other academics about how to better communicate parts of my field and how to use academic writing in such a public realm.”
— Graduate student
“[Wikipedia] is a big resource for science... There’s value in making sure the science on Wikipedia is as good and complete as possible.”