How can academic institutions globally help bridge gender participation and content gaps while also contributing to Wikipedia' goal of containing the sum of all human knowledge? Through service learning projects aimed at women-led organizations that train students in Wikipedia literacy and editing in partnership with academic institutions, we can continue to spread our important mission to students, librarians, and professors.
As the Wikipedian in Residence for Gender Equity at West Virginia University Libraries (partially funded through a Wikimedia Foundation grant), I have successfully created and piloted a project which incorporates Wikipedia editing into student service requirements at higher education institutions in the United States. To date, this project has been expanded to four universities and has leveraged service learning and volunteer standards with the ethos of Wikipedia as a preeminent crowdsourced resource that has increase participation among students and academics.
This project has primarily been concentrated on outreach to student groups which are women-led and centered, this lends itself to content creation about women and women' issues on Wikipedia. Furthermore, students enrolled in universities have privileged access to academic libraries and pay-walled information that can be used to source Wikipedia articles. Working with students provides a stable number of potential editors as new students enter and graduate. Students who have graduated are partially retained as editors, but more importantly, a critical mass of students disburse into their various fields with Wikipedia literacy skills that will further the mission of Wikipedia because of the improved understanding of the platform this programming provides.
Through instructional and training materials I‰Ûªm currently developing, and with the help of fellow Wikipedians, this project can successfully be remixed and piloted into a global context that has vast potential to scale both in terms of gendered participation and gendered content in a variety of languages.
Audience will gain information about this current project and the opportunities this programming has to scale in our global community and in various language Wikipedias. Attendees will be presented with avenues to collaborate and engage with this project in their home context. Additionally, as a part of this project and programming, I am creating training and instructional materials that will be shared with the academic and Wikimedia community to grow this program and build on it. I hope the diverse audience at Wikimania will learn more about this project and offer advice, comments, and ideas for the current project and potential future iterations of this programming. Furthermore, I will share with the audience what, in my experience, compels students to engage with Wikipedia as editors and why “service learning” and participating in our project matters to them and how we can scale and build on this interest.