Addressing Knowledge Gaps in Wikipedia through Student Assignments

Brooke Ackerly and Kristin MichelitchBrooke Ackerly and Kristin Michelitch, both political science professors here at Vanderbilt University, are editing a forthcoming special issue of the journal PS: Political Science and Politics focused on Wikipedia, the systematic knowledge gaps and biases it has, and efforts by university faculty to address those issues through student initiatives. In that issue, they reflect on their own experiences engaging their students as Wikipedia contributors, with benefits both to Wikipedia and their students. In September 2021, Brooke and Kristin shared those experiences at a special spotlight event at the Vanderbilt Digital Commons.

We audio-recorded the event and shared that recording on Leading Lines, an educational technology podcast produced by the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching. In the podcast episode, embedded below, we hear first from Brooke Ackerly about the politics of knowledge, the way that those politics intersect with Wikipedia, and the kinds of learning outcomes her class Wikipedia projects lead to. Then we hear from Kristin about the learning outcomes she’s seen with her students, as well as the practical approaches and tools she uses with her Wikipedia assignments. They make a compelling case for teaching with Wikipedia.

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