MPSA Wikipedia Initiative

When the public searches for information about political science, the top search results are usually Wikipedia articles. As the fifth most-visited website, Wikipedia is the go-to resource for knowledge on every topic, and is entirely written by volunteers. As political science scholars, it's our duty to ensure that political science related information on Wikipedia is accurate and complete. MPSA is encouraging our members to actively participate in curating knowledge on Wikipedia about our discipline as a community service.

The goal of the MPSA Wikipedia Initiative is to make information about political science on Wikipedia as complete, accurate, and as reflective of current scholarship as possible. In order to accomplish this, MPSA encourages members to contribute content to Wikipedia, or assign students to do so as part of your courses.  


2018 Wikipedia Fellows Pilot

 Wikipedia is a resource people use every day to better understand the world. In a time when terms like "alternative facts" and "fake news" have become shorthand for a wide range of political, educational, and epistemological challenges to public knowledge, it's crucial that we ensure the quality of our most popular source of information.

Wikipedia represents the interests and expertise of the volunteer community who writes it. That means articles about some subjects are much better than others, and many important and/or complex topics remain underdeveloped, poorly explained, or missing entirely. We know how passionate MPSA members are about gaining and sharing knowledge about political science, and your experience with the field's literature, ideas, perspectives, disputes, misconceptions, and histories makes you ideally positioned to have a significant impact on public knowledge through Wikipedia.

That's why we are pleased to announce Wikipedia Fellows, an interdisciplinary project led by Wiki Education.

Our members will join members from the American Sociological Association and National Women's Studies Association in a 3-month pilot, from January to April 2018, during which time participants will learn to edit Wikipedia and receive guidance and support as they make contributions to subjects important to an informed citizenry.

        • No experience with Wikipedia is required.
        • Participants are asked to commit 3 hours/week, including training and group meetings.
        • Wiki Education will provide training, guidance, and support throughout the process, using video conferences and Slack, a free cloud-based chat/collaboration service.
        • Participants will make significant contributions to at least two articles by the end of the program.
        • Informal support will remain available after the end of the pilot.
        • Fellows will fill out short surveys in the beginning and end of the program, and will be asked to write one reflective blog post about their experience upon completion.

For more information, visit http://wikiedu.org/wikipedia-fellows/ or email wikipediafellows@wikiedu.org. If you're interested in participating, please fill out the  Wikipedia Fellows application here


Teaching with Wikipedia

One simple way for political scientists to improve articles about the discipline is to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool. Students contribute content to Wikipedia in place of, or in addition to, a traditional research paper through a classroom activity. MPSA has partnered with Wiki Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia assignments in the United States and Canada, to expand and improve the coverage of political science on Wikipedia.

Through this partnership, a Wiki Education Foundation staff member will help you craft an assignment that meets your student learning objectives, and makes a positive impact to Wikipedia. Wiki Ed has online trainings for you and your students, tools for designing the assignment and tracking student work, staff to help you throughout the project, and brochures and handouts for you to distribute to students in class.

As your students craft their Wikipedia articles, they’ll develop key skills such as:

  • Fact-based, neutral writing
  • Research methods
  • Collaboration
  • Information literacy and source evaluation
  • Critical thinking
Best of all, the coursework will serve to improve publicly available information about your course topics for the public and for future generations of students.

Ready to get started?

Contact the Wiki Education Foundation at contact@wikiedu.org, and let them know that you’re interested in participating in the MPSA Wikipedia Initiative, or check out  http://wikiedu.org/for-instructors for a full list of resources available to help craft and implement a successful assignment. The Wiki Education Foundation has developed these tools and best practices after working with over 650 university courses, and they can help your students have a rewarding experience that makes a big impact to the real world. 


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