Graduate Students Elevate Wikipedia Content for Course Credit

Dr. Eric Guisbert, assistant professor of biological sciences at Florida Tech, is bringing Wikipedia into the classroom.

Adding to the universal body of knowledge is one of the main missions of graduate work—and as part Dr. Guisbert’s graduate class, Florida Tech students are doing just that. His students have contributed over 47,000 words to Wikipedia and have helped generate more than than 2.8 million pageviews.

The Wikipedia assignment is simple enough: students create or improve Wikipedia articles.

Amani Badkok, master’s student studying biotechnology

But in the process, they are asked to critically evaluate Wikipedia, to identify the differences between fake news and reliable sources and to distill their field of research to a public audience.

Dr. Guisbert has been so thrilled with the outcomes that he plans to incorporate a Wikipedia assignment into one of his undergraduate courses as well.

Amani Badkok, a master’s student in biotechnology, said her brief experience as a Wikipedia editor helped her develop writing skills, changed and expanded her view of the website’s content and developed her sense of responsibility as a scientist.

“I believe that this won’t be my last contribution to Wikipedia,” Badkok said. “As a scientist, I believe that it is my responsibility to add more information to the website so that new students in the field and the public can have easy access to the correct information.”

Carlee Confer, master’s student studying cell and molecular biology

Carlee Confer, a master’s student in cell and molecular biology, said she will also continue to contribute to Wikipedia after this project.

“It’s said that the best way to learn a subject is to be able to teach it,” Confer said. “Writing or editing a Wikipedia page is very similar to teaching.”

“Thank you Wikipedia, Dr. Guisbert, and Florida Tech for this opportunity to expand our value as scientists and to further promote the spreading of accurate, credible knowledge,” she said.

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