College students take to Wikipedia to rewrite the wrongs of Internet science

Posted on October 17th, 2016

This Los Angeles Times article, on instructors using Wikipedia in science classes, explores the potential benefits of using Wikipedia as a teaching and learning tool. More professors are realizing the potential of Wikipedia—student assignments, previously only read once by an instructor or teaching assistant, can be turned into comprehensive and accurate Wikipedia entries for the general public. Professors are noting the importance of open, transparent, and understandable science and are finding new ways to train students to be better communicators. Eryk Salvaggio of the Wiki Education Foundation states, “College students are in this great sweet spot where they’re picking up a lot of knowledge about science in their field, but they’re also still connected to that sense of not knowing. That’s a great time to write for the general audience.” So far this year, 240 college science classrooms in Canada and the United States have improved the content of more than 2,500 Wikipedia articles and created 247 new articles. The pages have been viewed more than 81 million times.