DP Activity: Wikipedia Assignment

Here’s a potentially useful activity using Wikipedia, from a post over on The Conversation by Ellis Jones.

What I like about this “adopt-a-theorist’s-Wikipedia-page” assignment is that it gets students thinking about the way scholarly work often both is produced and managed: collaboratively and as a process over time, as opposed to solitarily and all at once in a moment of inspiration.

In addition, through engagement with existing pages on Wikipedia over time, students also get to engage with “others who share their interest in improving the quality of information available on a subject they care about.”  Since this happens within the Wikipedia interface, students have the opportunity to enter into dialogue both with the received wisdom Ellis refers to regarding the limited nature of the site’s usefulness, and with their own potentially ingrained notions about the site’s accuracy and efficacy at a given moment in time.

This kind of assignment could be effectively used in a wide range of disciplines, and if even a few students in each course take it seriously and do the work diligently, we all benefit from their contributions to the site down the road.

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