Wikipedia in the Classroom - Simon Riley and Richard Smith on the Reproductive Biology Wikipedia assignment
From Ewan McAndrew
Dr. Simon Riley and Dr. Richard Smith of the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health were interviewed in March 2018 about the Wikipedia research assignment Senior Honours students on the Reproductive Biomedicine programme undertake in September each year. The assignment was first tried out by Dr. Chris Harlow in September 2015 and has been repeated each year since, expanding on each year's efforts each time. In September 2017, fifty-one students, 92% of whom were female, took part in the assignment, working in groups with their tutors and supported by Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew. The model used is seen as one which can be replicated in other subject disciplines to help address knowledge gaps and allow students a motivating opportunity to share their scholarship with the world for the common good.
In 2 x 3 hour sessions spread over two weeks, students are introduced to medical research databases by an Academic Support Librarian and work in groups in order to research a term from reproductive health not currently represented on Wikipedia. After three hours of researching the term and dividing the task up equitably between themselves, they return the following week to take their individual sections and piece together a brand new Wikipedia article which communicates their research to a lay audience.
Dr. Simon Riley is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Student Selected Components in the undergraduate medical curriculum at the Edinburgh Medical School. He is a graduate of the University, having studied pharmacology at undergraduate level, and gained his PhD in studying the regulation of prostaglandins in the guinea pig uterus. Prior to joining the University in 1994, Simon held a number of post-doctoral fellowships, firstly at the Lawson Research Institute, Ontario, Canada, and later at the Prince Henry’s Institute in Melbourne, Australia.
Dr. Richard Smith is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh.