Hi all, some of you know me because of OER projects I've been involved in
through the Economics Network. In my spare time I do a lot with Wikimedia
UK. You may be interested in the conference that Wikimedia UK is doing in
the first week of September, in conjunction with the Beyond Distance
Research Alliance at the University of Leicester.
The spirit of openness pervades Wikipedia and its sister projects: not
only the articles but the policies, processes and even the software
platform are free and open, developed by a public process to which many
people contribute. On the other hand, Wikimedia doesn't provide formal
education or accreditation. I think the Wikimedia community and
universities have a lot to learn from each other, and in the long term the
Wikimedia organisations have a role to play in supporting innovative
educational projects in universities.
Note that where we're talking about using Wikipedia in education, we mean
getting students to *improve* Wikipedia for course credit, which is
already done in dozens of university courses in the US and other
countries. It's about using Wikipedia's processes of collaboration and
review rather than treating it as a static resource.
This conference is the chance to bring together educators and Wikimedia
contributors to have the conversation about how we'll implement these sort
of assignments in UK HE.
We'll have speakers from the Wikimedia Foundation in San Fransisco, from
Wikimedia Deutschland, and of course from the UK HE sector. Jon
Beasley-Murray of the University of British Columbia, who has run some
very successful Wikipedia education projects in his courses, will be
giving a keynote. Jon wrote "Was introducing Wikipedia to the classroom an
act of madness leading only to mayhem if not murder?"
The conference is also a chance to hear from other projects that combine
wiki technology, open content and education.
Please sign up and tell colleagues: I'm organising this as a volunteer to
advance Wikimedia's charitable goals, so any help with publicity is very
It's still possible to offer a presentation, panel session or other
session if you'd like to report on a project, or advance a perspective on
the intersections of open content and education. Just email me if you have
a suggestion, and if it's accepted, you don't have to pay the (small)
Finally, it's a 4000 word read, but if you're interested in my thoughts on
the role of Wikipedia and Wikimedia in education, take a look at
Dr Martin L Poulter, The Economics Network