The Student as Producer: How UBC Courses are Transforming Learning by Contributing to and Improving Wikipedia

Speakers: Patrick Earley, Community Advocate for the Wikimedia Foundation and long-time Wikipedia Editor and Rose-Marie Déchaine, Associate Professor of Linguistics at UBC

Wednesday, October 29, 11:00 to 11:50 A.M., Lillooet Room (301) of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (See the full schedule).

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The student as producer pedagogical model emphasizes the role of the student as collaborators in the production of knowledge. In this model, the university’s approaches to learning and research are closer aligned; for example, students, similar to researchers, are asked to share their work with others and not just their immediate instructor or advisor. Some UBC instructors have worked with the Wikimedia Foundation to incorporate projects into their curriculum that are shared potentially with millions of people worldwide. The Wikimedia Foundation’s statement of purpose is to “is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.” As part of its mission, it hosts Wikipedia, the open access, free content encyclopedia that contains more than 33 million articles in 287 languages and the Wikimedia Commons, which hosts more than 22 million openly licensed media files. In 2010, it launched the Wikipedia Education Program, aimed at enabling educators and students to “share free knowledge by contributing to Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects in an academic setting.” This session will explore how UBC courses are creating authentic learning experiences by contributing and improving Wikipedia. It will feature speakers from both UBC and the Wikimedia Foundation who will share strategies, mistakes, and best practices for creating and delivering such projects.

Speaker Bio.:

Patrick Earley is is a Community Advocate for the Wikimedia Foundation, and a long-time Wikipedia editor. He has worked extensively with the Wikipedia/academia interface, assisting instructors in the Wikimedia Education Program as an “online ambassador”, organizing academic outreach in the Wikipedia editing community, and sitting on the board of the Wiki Education Foundation. He is also a coordinator of the Wikipedia Library, an effort to get reliable source access to editors. He studied as an undergrad at UBC, and at Langara College. He also works part-time for the Vancouver Public Library in the Information Services department.

Rose-Marie Déchaineis an Associate Professor in the UBC Department of Linguistics. In both the fall terms of 2013 and 2014, she asked her linguistic students to participate in group-based research project to create a Wikipedia entry on a topic related to syntax with the goal of providing the opportunity to master conceptual, technical, and organizational skills. Her current Wikipedia project can be access here: