Education/News/October 2018/How we included Wikipedia edition into a whole University department curriculum

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How we included Wikipedia edition into a whole University department curriculum


Author: Galder Gonzalez

Summary: The seed we sowed is beginning to bear fruits, at least in the "Basque Language and Communication" department of the Basque Country University. We started last year with some professors, working with their students in our education program, and they have adopted Wikipedia edition as an official part of their subject this term. This means that about 15 courses (around 300 students) will take part in our program, making basic articles in every science better.

Nearly every student in the Basque Country University has the option to course the subject "Uses and Rules of the Basque language" in their last University year. An optional subject, students learn to use the language better, and solve technical terminology. They also learn about different ways of communication: from informal explanations, to formal letters, scientific articles or writing popular science. Last year we approached some of the professors in this courses and proposed them to use Wikipedia as a publishing site for students, learning how to write property an article, studying our "Style-book" and making our terminology more concise, i.e. better.

The experience was interesting enough for them to propose a full collaboration between their department and our Education program, so all their students could have an exercise based on Wikipedia. This term we will have 11 courses working with us, ranging from economy to physics and from biology to laws terminology. For the next term we are also working with them in some ideas for improving oral communication inside Wikipedia.

Working with professors in the design of the course, we learnt about the possibilities Wikimedia offer, and how we can mutually benefit. Students use Wikipedia on a daily basis, and they learn how to use the correct wording, how to link and explain things. Mostly working on interwiki translation, they focus on making articles explanation simpler, as Encyclopedia readers tend to don't know what the topic is about. Making things understandable is the main goal of the subject, and Wikipedia is a powerful ally for them.

Tags: wikipedia, education, communication, translation