Education/Newsletter/June 2016/An online elective course on Wikipedia for high school pupils in Estonia

An online elective course on Wikipedia for high school pupils in Estonia

By Peeter (Wikimedia Estonia)

An nice photo of a local phlox plant taken by a student in the pilot course

Snippet: A new online introductory course to Wikipedia for high schoolers in Estonia.

Together with representatives from high school and higher education, Wikimedia Estonia has been building an online course to teach an introduction to Wikipedia to high school students in Estonia. The course will go live in the fall of 2016 as an elective course and will be offered alongside the extra-curricular educational programme offered by Tartu University. The main aim of the course is to provide an introduction to Wikipedia that is both approachable and interesting and should result in transferrable skills whether or not the pupils become active contributors to Wikipedia. The understanding provided on the inner workings of Wikipedia is expected to allow new appreciation into the mechanisms by which knowledge is constructed, maintained, and distributed through Wikipedia.

The course has been organized with support and initiative from the Ministry of Education and Research in Estonia in conjunction with a requirement to present a minor research paper by the end of the school term. Wikipedia has shown itself as an environment with multiple educational benefits, and thus initiatives have begun to help high school pupils also take part in the Wikipedia community. The course seeks to offer useful skills by explaining the structure and the specificity of Wikipedia articles in both style and content, and going through the process of writing step by step. The course takes its structure from research in academic writing that has come to value the process of incremental build-up that gradually improves on article quality and content in subsequent iterations. Taking the process step by step allows a well-paced introduction to encyclopedic writing and also combines writing with collaboration and feedback between peers.

The course was tested from February until April as a 6-week course. It will go live as a 9-week course this fall, next to the elective online courses offered by Tartu University. The pilot was tested with 6 volunteer participants. The first session of the course is expected to support 30-50 participants.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Estonia here.