Education/News/June 2021/Wikipedia and Wikidata digital humanities online courses at universities in Taiwan

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Wikipedia and Wikidata digital humanities online courses at universities in Taiwan

Author: Ying-Huan Chiu (WMTW)

Translator: Yuhsien Chen Joyce (WMTW)

Summary: For the past ten years, education in Taiwan has started to emphasize cross-domain integration, especially for adapting information technology and showing outcomes virtually online. Many courses takes writing Wikipedia pages as a part of learning evaluation. Wikipedia Taiwan collaborated with the Department of History, Cheng Kung University since last year. A semi-credit course and a complete-credit course about Wikipedia were held in the two beginning semesters. This year, the use of Wikidata was introduced to build a database for historical archives.

One thing worth mentioning is that when Taiwan announced the third level lockdown in mid-May, we have to transform the course that was held on May 29-30 from offline to online. This transformation also results in a different type of education method and experience.

"Wiki for Educating History" Background[edit]

The "Wiki for Educating History" in conjunction with the Department of History, Cheng Kung University was given as a semi-credit course for the 108-2 semester and was elevated into a complete credit in the 109-1 semester. The duration of the course was three weeks, and the final presentation was shown at the building of the Department of History. During one of the 2-day editing workshops in the semi-credit course, there were 4 pages edited, 16 pages added. As for the complete credit, 64 pages were added and the was counted 199 person-time in total. There were also 145 people who created their first Wikipedia account accordingly.

The first goal of the course for the 109-2 semester was to focus on "Cheng Kung University Studies" and "Tainan Studies", the second goal is for Wikimedia Taiwan to expand the content of the course to other Wikimedia sister projects.

Online Education: What to do? Difficulties and Solutions[edit]

The online course was run on Webex in 2 days, 18 hours in total. In addition to the introduction and editing basics of Wikipedia and digital humanity, we provided students to ask questions through text messages or conference room functions during the practice section. By structural discussion, we want to solve the disadvantages of lack of interaction for the online format. And we also arranged a presentation and discussion section on the second day's afternoon.

However, the transformation from a semester course into a 2 days workshop has increased the time spend in front of the computer, and it was easier to get tired.Fortunately, the university Webex conference room by each time slot, which provided a proper break section. With the action of switching conference rooms, it was easier to spot on students who might not pay attention to the course. This design created a sense of progress for a more motive and active participation.

The running of "Wiki for Educating History" is another challenge. Training future teaching assistants for this education project is one of the major goals of this event.But it is difficult to monitor student's performance and attention for the assistant to give instruction and help to the students when there is a lack of face-to-face interaction. To solve the challenge, the speaker and the assistant both have to look through the page edited by students and provide feedback based on the editing result.


The "Wiki for Educating History2.0: Cheng Kung University Studies and Tainan Studies", not only adding pages about doctors and hospitals from Tainan and Kaohsiung but also upload thesis and oral history documentation to Wikidata.Our past practice of connecting Wikipedia to Wikidata is very helpful in accumulating data for future analysis. To conclude, there were total 4.57k editing records made, 285 Wikidata items created, 448 items edited and 1.11k references added.

The webinar platform and scoreboard provided by the wiki were very helpful for the virtualization of the education project. On one hand, it provides teachers and students a flexible way to attend the course without moving to an actual space during the pandemic. On the other hand, the disadvantage of not able to give proper assistant and the decrease of interaction will need to resolve by trying different methods in classes. However, the virtualization of the education project forced by the pandemic can be seen as another opportunity for a more prosperous development of online learning.

See also: curriculum