The Value of a Wikimedian in Residence - Melissa Highton and Ewan McAndrew (University of Edinburgh)
From Ewan McAndrew
- Melissa Highton - Melissa Highton - Assistant Principal Online Learning, the University of Edinburgh.
- Ewan McAndrew - User:Stinglehammer - Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh.
Hosting a Wikimedian in Residence (WiR) in a higher education
institution has real potential to target empowerment in learning
technology. If you put your Wikimedian alongside your digital skill
trainers and learning technologists their impact can be significant.
Senior managers in higher education institutions will be well aware of
the numerous reports which urge universities to pay attention to digital
skills as a key component of graduate employability. To stay
competitive globally, "the UK must ensure it has the necessary pool
of (highly) digitally skilled graduates to support and drive research
and innovation throughout the economy".
Technology can make it easier to develop authentic learning experiences that are relevant to the labour market and help students demonstrate their skills to employers. With Higher Education students and staff Wikipedia leads to empowering discussions about privilege, transparency, geographies of knowledge, gender bias, publication bias and if there is ever a 'neutral' point of view. Our Wikimedia projects in higher education bring students as co-creators, authors, actors, partners and agents for change to the fore.
Editing as an individual is a different activity than editing as a group or class. Classroom activities – learning and teaching activities- need to be carefully designed and structured and although this can be done successfully it takes a bit of work and that is where our WiR partnership helps us. We are creating and sharing re-usable lesson plans and models for classroom activities. This session will showcase real outputs and impact from a WiR project in a large UK HEI and make clear recommendations of how this can be of use to the sector.
Some people say they can't afford to host a Wikimedian, in this session we will argue that you can't afford not to.
While there have been previous Wikimedia residencies based in UK
cultural institutions focussing on opening up collections, hosting a
Wikimedian at a higher education institution to embed the creation of
OER in the curriculum does therefore represent something of a shift in
the paradigm. This presentation discusses one such residency, the first
of its kind in the UK, and the lessons learnt from the first 18 months.
This session will provide attendees with a chance to hear about the lessons learnt and how we work with colleagues across many teams to facilitate student-created OER. The curriculum areas for which we have developed learning activities include Reproductive Biology, World Christianity, English Literature, History of Medicine, Translation Studies, Veterinary Medicine, Scottish Studies and the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP). So far we have run dozens of events; the vast majority of which have been to correct the under-representation of women in the online world thereby shifting away from Wikipedia being the “sum of all male knowledge” and creating new role models for young and old alike.
This residency provides a live case study of how a university with approximately 36,000 students and 13,000 staff has engaged with Wikimedia UK as part of the business of teaching, learning and research. Participants in this session will learn how the residency has championed open educational resources (OER), open practice and open knowledge skills alongside emerging models of information & digital literacy. We will include examples of successful, reusable lesson plans for academic and student engagement in Wikipedia projects and reflect on how academic researchers have engaged with the constantly evolving open knowledge tools. We hope this session will provide insight and advice for anyone who might be interested in hosting a Wikimedian in Residence in their own institution in the future.
Themes of the conference included the advancement of Free Knowledge,
the role of academic and cultural institutions within the movement,
privacy and rights, and the role of technology to further those
The event was held in and around the Centre Sheraton Montréal, in Montréal, Canada from August 9 to August 13, 2017.