Jisc and Wikimedia UK are collaborating on a project to bring the academic world and Wikipedia closer together. This will create opportunities for researchers, educators, and the general public to contribute to the world’s freely available knowledge. We are very pleased to be working with Dr Martin Poulter of the University of Bristol who is a keen editor of Wikipedia articles and active promoter of its use in education.
Martin Poulter at the WMUK board meeting in Derby Museum, August 2011*
In academic circles there has been considerable debate about the use of Wikipedia by students when they are preparing essays. Clearly there is an issue with students seeing it as a place to get easy information, rather than as a starting point for enquiry. The project will examine if, by becoming more involved in contributing to articles, academics can improve information students first encounter, making sure that it draws on the most up to-date-knowledge. Equally, if educators start to use Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in their own work, they may be able to encourage more informed use amongst their students .
At the moment Martin is looking across the huge range of Jisc initiatives to identify particular themes on which we can focus some ‘editathons’. The project will also conduct training initiatives, but the wider objective is to increase the uptake of Wikimedia projects by academics who are interested in the open publication of their own work. It will also be interesting to examine if these means of distribution can significantly aid institutions to disseminate the knowledge they produce whilst supporting ‘open’ agendas.
The project will run for nine months and and will produce a number of case studies which will document approaches to the use of Wikimedia project in an educational context.