Critical issues presentations/Wikipedia as a Teaching & Learning Tool in Medical Educaiton and Beyond

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Submission no. 183
Title of the submission

Wikipedia as a Teaching & Learning Tool in Medical Educaiton and Beyond

Author of the submission
  • Shani Evenstein
Country of origin



Outreach, Projects, Research

  • Wikipedia in higher education
  • An academic wiki course
  • Teaching with Wikipedia
  • EDU-Wiki

Wikipedia has become a leading source of medical information. Both students and faculty in higher education frequently use it, but few actually contribute to it. Web 2.0 tools, specifically Wikipedia, are known to enhance students' learning experience by engaging them, while developing their academic and digital literacies. However, academia is still exploring best practices of incorporating these tools into the classroom.

In order to bridge this gap, a for-credit, elective course that focuses on contributing medical content to Wikipedia has been designed. The 13-weeks course opened for the first time on October 2013. It was designed using "flipped classroom" concepts and applying "blended learning" methods, which means in practicum that it combined in-class lectures, workshops and small-group activities, with online individual learning. Since its debut, the course has had 3 iterations, each slightly different from its previous one. Changes were made drawing from students' feedback, staff assessment and new tools (a new online teaching tool / translation tool / copy-pasting detecting tool), projects (WikiData) or other issues (such as diverse mother tongues) that had to be taken into consideration when giving the course.

Both Moodle (LMS) and the Wikipedia Education Extension were used to monitor students' progress throughout the course. Thus far, 84 students completed course, contributing around 170 medical-related articles to Wikipedia. These articles benefit future generations of learners as well as the general public, and have been viewed over 1 million times to date. In a study following the end of the first iteration of the course, students also reported a unique learning experience that strengthened both their collaborative learning skills and academic skills. They also reported an overall positive learning experience, which have broadened their horizons, inspired them and have given them a deep sense of satisfaction.

It seems that working with Wikipedia as a teaching tool in higher education in general and Medical schools in particular, facilitates training a new generation of doctors. The course model that will be presented allows both students and faculty the opportunity to participate in curating medical content in Wikipedia, learn to give and receive feedback, work collaboratively with peers and give back to the community. These future physicians will also be better equipped to deal with the changes in doctor-patients relationships as well as collaborative online research bound by the digital revolution.

This "critical issue" presentation aims to –

• Showcase a course model that can and should be adopted in other medical schools around the world

• Present the benefits and challenges of leading such course from various stakeholders point of view – academic staff & faculty, students and the wiki community

• Discuss the implications of future adaptations of this course model in both other medical schools and other academic disciplines

Target audience: Anyone interested in --

• Teaching with Wikipedia

• Using Wikipedia as a learning tool

• Wikipedia in Education

• Wikipedia & Higher Education

• Student's perception of Wikipedia

• Faculty's perception of Wikipedia


Not accepted