Education/Newsletter/May 2015/Five new classes begin experimenting with Wikipedia

By Leigh Thelmadatter (Wiki Learning)

Snippet: March edit-a-thon encourages the use of Wikipedia in new classes at Tec de Monterrey

Until this semester, all of the students contributing to Wikipedia/Wikimedia at Tec de Monterrey belonged to the School of Humanities (university level) at the Mexico City campus. Partially as a result of the massive edit-a-thon sponsored by the Tec de Monterrey last March, five classes decided to pilot working with Wikipedia. Four are from the Mexico City Campus preparatory (high school) division: Biochemistry, taught by Tanya PT, Challenges in contemporary society; taught by Clamaresan; and Introduction to administration and finances and 21st century financial scene taught by InFranco. All four of these classes are “topics” classes, meaning they are first-year university-level courses taught at the preparatory, to give students a head start. These classes have been further encouraged to work with Wikipedia through the efforts of the director of the topics program, Ldelagarzag, who has been an active Wikipedian, contributing content on her own topics of interest. The fifth class to start working with Wikipedia is a university French (I) class at the State of Mexico Campus, taught by Jocelyne Perreard, who did an excellent job in documenting her students’ participation. Jocelyne became involved through the edit-a-thon, and has since been pivotal in promoting Wikipedia on the State of Mexico Campus.

Tallies include six articles created or expanded in Spanish Wikipedia through translation from French, six articles created in Spanish Wikipedia through translation from English and 17 articles expanded in Spanish Wikipedia with new information. The last project was to take information that the students had researched about companies over the semester in the two finance/administration classes and use it to improve existing Wikipedia articles. In addition, 33 photos were uploaded by the Biochemistry classes related to their laboratory work (category on Commons) and 23 other photos were uploaded by the "Challenges in contemporary society" class. Originally both the Biochemistry and Challenges classes were only going to do photo uploads, but the enthusiasm for Wikipedia made them eager to try their hand at some article translation as well.

Student feedback from the activities was mostly quite positive, with the greatest effect on students being motivation, the idea of creating something what was theirs and would be seen possibly all over the world. Teachers reported the interaction with Wikipedia and with each other during the activities to be dynamic, with Clamaresan noting that it "demystified" Wikipedia for the students. While most knew anyone could contribute, the constant admonition against Wikipedia in previous classes countered just about any inclinations to participate. One last motivating factor was they appreciated the need to have information available in Spanish, and they were now empowered to do something about it. Two teachers from the preparatory have already committed to working with Wikipedia again in the fall, and have already started considering how to more fully integrate these activities with coursework.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program at ITESM here.