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Wikipedia as a platform for impactful learning: A new course model in higher education


In January 2014, 62 students graduated from the first for-credit course dedicated to Wikipedia. Learning focused on improved consumption of information, and collaborative construction of knowledge using the Wikipedia platform. This paper investigates the design and implementation of this course model, while highlighting the benefits and challenges to students & faculty. In addition to 128 medical articles in Hebrew Wikipedia, already viewed over 1.4 million times, students reported a unique learning experience that sharpened their collaborative skills as well as academic skills. This paper also presents the findings of a related study that focused on students’ learning experience, long-term impact and productive teaching practices. The study results helped fine-tune the pedagogical and administrative aspects of the course, influencing both teaching practices and the learning experience. Finally, the course is discussed in a wider educational perspective, presenting insights regarding reuse of the model, scaling possibilities and suggestions for further research.

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In memoriam of Prof. Ilan Hammel, who believed in and supported the Wiki-Med course from its inception till his passing this year.

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Correspondence to Shani Evenstein Sigalov.

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The main author works at the American Medical Program at Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, focusing on curriculum development & E-learning strategies. In her capacity as a volunteer, she is also an active contributor to Wikipedia and other Open Source and Open Knowledge initiatives. The course described in this paper has been part of the Israeli Medical Program at Sackler and there has been no financial or ethical conflict of interest related to the subject matter of the article.

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Evenstein Sigalov, S., Nachmias, R. Wikipedia as a platform for impactful learning: A new course model in higher education. Educ Inf Technol 22, 2959–2979 (2017).

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  • Wikipedia in higher education
  • Active learning
  • Collaborative learning
  • Literacies