Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Wikipedia staff session

This post is about a session I am running with staff on Wikipedia. I have called it  . . .
Wikipedia. friend or foe
Title: Wikipedia – wisdom of the crowds or confederacy of dunces
This session will provide you with an overview of the wild and wiki world of the Wikipedians. It will dispel a few myths, discuss the recent research and explore the recent moves by academics to create Wikipedia assignments. There will be a little hands on editing of Wikipedia too.

If you can’t make the session – I recommend this paper

Learning Chronobiology by Improving Wikipedia

JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL RHYTHMS; AUG, 2012, 27 4, p333-p336, 4p.

This paper shows a possible way to incorporate Wikipedia within a summative assignment. It provides evidence of the motivational and learning effectiveness of the process and all the assignment details to allow others to use the same process. http://www.nslc.wustl.edu/courses/Bio4030/wikipedia_project.html

The aims also include the demonstrating the ways in which social media and many other forms of social interaction allow opportunities for teaching practice to engaage, either formally e.g. let's make an assessment out of this or informal, lets discussion, analyse and explore this together. In the session I intended to:
  1. Start with introducing a wikipedian, describe how wikipedia works from their perspective, eg. workgroups, looking after pages
  2. Then show a particular group of pages that are from their subject area. I'm in the arts faculty. One of the pages was created by the wikipedian just discussed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010s_in_fashion. I'll talk about the 'talk' area of pages and 'history' and their relation to discussion and debate. Also the ways in which wikipedians display areas of concern in the page, e.g citation needed, and other warning signs. 
  3. I'll finish of with an example of assessment using wikipedia to hopefully lead into a discussion about innovation within teaching practice.
This is a very short session, so I might not get time to mention all the wiki research. What follows are some interesting links that have helped me prepare.

Facts and figures
From Townsend (2013) (apologies to wikipedians!!)
  • 17M registered users.
  • most are male, internet experts, childless
  • 5000 of these are active users
  • 1459 administrators within the system who are super users and step in to arbitrate over content
  • Administrators can block users or limit edit rights to some pages. 0.05 articles are blocked
  • 10% of authors – 90% of the acrtiles Ortega (2009, p. 106) in Shen (2013)

Research / Analysis

Rosenzweig's (2006) is the most notable study looking at the validity of the entries. 25 US historical figures where research in 3 different resources, eg two encyclopedias and wikipedia. Wikipedia was better than one and close behind the other. He critises the writing style of its choppiness.
But also see Nature 2005 article what compared accuracy and moved the debate from rejection to reluctant acceptance. Britannica had 3 errors per entry wiki 4

Shen (2013) conclusion is wikipedia is so huge power, control and hierarchy have to grow. Therefore it is not a true display of 'the wisdom of the crowds'

Systemic Bias - really interesting veiwpoint from a set of slides here

And the geographical location of page edits - http://www.zerogeography.net/2009/11/mapping-geographies-of-wikipedia.html 


Shen, XL,What leads students to adopt information from Wikipedia? An empirical investigation into the role of trust and information usefulness. BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY; MAY, 2013, 44 3, p502-p517, 16p. 

Roy Rosenzweig, "Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past", June 2006
Giles, Jim. “Internet Encyclopaedias Go Head to Head.” Nature 438, no. 15 (2005): 900–901.
Townsend, S. Wicked Wikipedia? Communities of Practice, the Production of Knowledge and Australian Sport History. International Journal of the History of Sport Apr2013, Vol. 30 Issue 5, p545 15p.

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