Submissions/Wikipedia projects, college students, and culture clash: opportunities for learning through failure

From Wikimania


This is an Open submission for Wikimania 2017 that has not yet been reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Submission no. 6041
Title of the submission
Wikipedia projects, college students, and culture clash: opportunities for learning through failure
Type of submission (lecture, panel, tutorial/workshop, roundtable discussion, lightning talk, poster, birds of a feather discussion)
Author of the submission
Cecelia Musselman, Matthew Vetter, Rebecca Thorndike-Breeze, Amy Carleton, David Cregar, Amanda Rust
Language of presentation
E-mail address,,,,,
WritingTeacherC, Matthewvetter, Rtbhive, AmandaRR123, nymaker
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Northeastern University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (up to 300 words to describe your proposal)

Academic engagement in Wikipedia is increasingly common, especially as organizations like the Wiki Education Foundation emerge to provide training and support of novices. As academics who value the opportunities for learning that Wikipedia projects allow, moderators in this session are committed to sharing positive aspects of this work at our home institutions and beyond. But the positive opportunities for learning and engagement that Wikipedia affords don’t always come easily or automatically. This roundtable will give a view from the classroom and the library on what has worked for us, and what hasn’t.

University students have access to information resources not publicly available and typically diversify both Wikipedia content and editor demographics. As frequent users of Wikipedia, students bring an appreciation of the encyclopedia to their contributions. However, Wikipedia is not a teaching tool by design. Contribution efforts can encounter difficulties at many points: mismatches between student and Wikipedia values; technical competency challenges; linguistic and cultural disjunctions; assignments that are never “done”; new source use and evaluation practices; timing mismatches; failing then learning and recovering; and emotional effects of being a “newbie” in a community with specific and often arcane norms. In this roundtable, moderators and participants will identify challenges of working with undergraduate and graduate students in Wikipedia, and create strategies for addressing them.

Moderators bring broad experience across different institutional and disciplinary contexts. Speaker 1 examines challenges facing students contributing to science and medicine articles; Speaker 2 shares experience teaching a Wikipedia writing project in a multilingual graduate class; Speaker 3 shares experience collaborating with librarians and Wikipedians organizing edit-a-thons and addressing diversity gaps; Speaker 4 discusses notability, systemic bias, and Wikipedia coverage of the history of underrepresented groups; Speaker 5 shares design principles and outcomes for writing exercises using Talk Pages for International and English Language Learning students.

What will attendees take away from this session?
Attendees will:

• Learn about common points of friction and failure when students work with Wikipedia

• Have a better understanding of goals of student editors and college Wikipedia assignments

• Brainstorm other potential points of friction and workshop methods of constructive engagement with student articles and projects

Theme of presentation
For workshops and discussions, what level is the intended audience?
All are welcome
Length of session (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)
55 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Half of the team = yes; Half no
Slides or further information (optional)
Google Slides
Special requests
Wifi and HDMI
Is this Submission a Draft or Final?

This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with a hash and four tildes. (# ~~~~).

  1. Seltzerlibrarian (talk) 03:05, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  2. GastelEtzwane (talk) 12:49, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  3. RachelWex (talk) 22:08, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:44, 5 May 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  5. VMasrour (WMF) (talk) 14:46, 18 May 2017 (UTC)[reply]