December update

The goals for December were to finish student editing in the Critical Media Literacy course, attend their final presentations, and have the debrief session with the experts. The first two goals were achieved, however the debrief, and final write up and recommendations, were all pushed to January due to scheduling constraints among the participant experts.

Forty students completed the final Wikipedia editing project. They worked in groups of three students and edited 16 articles, one group created a new article. Because of the intensity of the quarter system, students completed the training and project in four weeks, rather than six or ten. They made a total of 358 edits, added 11,000 words, and since they’ve finished their contributions, their work has been viewed 147,000 times.

All students went through the basic student training and answered questions based on the training in a homework assignment (e.g. summarize the five pillars, show how to do bolding using wiki mark-up), drafted a proposal, did their research and editing, and then made a presentation. Their presentations were based on the following prompt:

“The Wikipedia Project is an opportunity to learn digital media literacy skills to contribute to a global, collective knowledge base. You will work with two other students to add content to a Wikipedia article on a topic that relates to the course. We will explore both the cultural politics of participating in knowledge production online as well as the technical skills required to do so.

Summary: In your groups, you will give a short (5-6 minute w/ 6 being the max) presentation on your experience editing your Wikipedia article.

Panel Format: We are going to do a panel format for the presentations. This means each group in a panel will present on their articles and then there will be a Q&A time for everyone in that panel. You can see how I’ve organized the panels below.”

Many made significant contributions in terms of weaving in their course content to Wikipedia and included feminist and critical perspectives. For instance the “gendered experiences” section added to the Participatory Culture page is clean and clearly addresses issues of gender. Most, if not all, drew on three academic sources and two non-academic sources, following their assignment. A few hit stumbling blocks that perhaps were avoidable, but at the same time, not unusual for new editors working their own. For instance, students editing the fandom page were unable to make their changes since the page was in a semi-protected status. This was really too bad since this was a page where they had used the rich, close reading conducted by one of the experts in the project to guide their research and intervention. Though the semi-protected status was lifted, they did not go in later and move their edits to the main page either, once the assignment was completed — this is perhaps one of the drawbacks of student editors, they are not always inclined to stick around. Another had his contributions deleted due to citation issues. Overall, the presentations were invigorating and students proud of the work they’d done. In attendance were myself and two WikiEd representatives.

Debriefing is scheduled for mid-January. The final report, and gap finding protocol recommendations, will be turned in afterwards.

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