Education/Newsletter/December 2015/Wikipedia in Higher Education in Israel: A new for-credit elective course focusing on contributing to Wikipedia at Tel Aviv University

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Wikipedia in Higher Education in Israel: A new for-credit elective course focusing on contributing to Wikipedia at Tel Aviv University

By Shani Evenstein (WMIL)

Amir explains about the new translation tool to students

Snippet: A first-of-its-kind, for-credit, elective course that focuses on contributing to Wikipedia has opened at Tel Aviv University and is now available to all B.A. students on campus

On October 19th a new for-credit elective course called "Wikipedia: Skills for producing and consuming knowledge"[1] has opened at Tel Aviv University (TAU). The semester-long course (13 weeks) is available to all B.A. students on campus and this semester about 50 students from various disciplines are taking part in this first-of-its-kind course in Israel.

Working in small groups to correct copyrights and Non-NPOV violations

The course draws from "flipped classroom" concepts and uses "blended learning" methods, which practically means combining in-class lectures, workshops and small-group activities, as well as online individual learning. Both the Moodle learning management system (LMS) and the Wikipedia Education Extension are used to monitor the students' work and progress throughout the course.

The course has 2 main assignments - expanding an existing stub, as well as writing a new article, in the hopes that the content added during the course will assist not only the students themselves, but also future generations of learners as well as the general public. Though the course focuses on adding quality content to Wikipedia, it also aims to help students sharpen their academic skills and their 21st century skills, highlighting collaborative learning, joint online research and interdisciplinary collaborations in the process of constructing knowledge.

This course was initiated and is led by Shani Evenstein, an educator, Wikimedian and member of the Wikipedia Education Collaborative, in collaboration with the Orange Institute for Internet Studies, as well as the School of Education at TAU. The syllabus for the new course builds on the success of Wiki-Med, a for-credit elective course, which was designed in 2013 and is led by Evenstein at the Sackler school of Medicine for the third consecutive year. While Wiki-med is focused on contributing medical content to Wikipedia and is only available to Medical Students on campus, the new course is designed to accommodate students from different academic disciplines and varying backgrounds.

Wikipedia course for BA students at Tel Aviv University - Course Logo.png

The course was chosen to be part of TAU's cross-discipline elective courses system ("Kelim Shluvim") and was approved by the Vice-Rector, who heads the program. In that, the course marks an important precedent in the collaboration between Academia and the Wikipedia Education Program, as it is the first time a higher institution acknowledges the importance of a course focusing on Wikipedia on a university level, offering it to all students, rather than a faculty level or individual lecturers as mostly practiced. It is our hope that other higher education institutions will follow this example and offer similar courses to students both in Israel and around the world.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Israel here.

  1. Link to the course page at the TAU website (in Hebrew) - http://www2.tau.ac.il/yedion/syllabus.asp?course=1880180101&year=2015