By: Dr. Helaine Blumenthal, Wiki Education

Through its ongoing partnership with Wiki Education, MPSA has been helping political science and policy students engage with subject content in meaningful and lasting ways all while improving the world’s access to reliable knowledge in these very fields. With Wiki Education’s support, thousands of students have been steadily improving Wikipedia as assignments in their Political Science and Policy courses, and the results are undeniable! More than 3,600 students from 154 courses have added over 3.7 million words to Wikipedia, and this work has been viewed hundreds of millions of times. Students have tackled subjects ranging from African Politics to Women, Politics, and Political Leadership and everything in between. Whether addressing issues related to global politics, political theory, or the local political landscape, students have been making a marked impact.

Despite its millions of articles, Wikipedia still consists of glaring content gaps. This is especially true when it comes to coverage of historically underrepresented populations and regions. Our students have contributed widely to the politics of non-western regions. They greatly expanded the article on the Tunesian National Dialogue Quartet, a group of four civil society organizations that sought to strengthen and solidify that country’s democratic processes following their Jasmine Revolution of 2011. They created the article on the Villagization of Ethiopia, a largely unsuccessful and ultimately detrimental attempt by the Ethiopian government in the 1980s to reform agriculture. They also added important content to LGBT rights in Argentina, again ensuring that Wikipedia is inclusive as well as expansive.

While many students have cast their nets globally, others have tackled topics closer to home. The Wikipedia assignment often allows students to write about their home states or territories. Students have improved topics ranging from the Constitution of Tennessee to the Idaho Military Department. They’ve also tackled subjects on a more national scale, such as the 2020 United States Census. Canadian students improved the articles on the Department of Canadian Heritage as well as Open data in Canada.

Roughly 18% of Wikipedia’s biographies are of women, and MPSA students have made great strides in improving Wikipedia’s coverage of women in politics. They expanded the entry on Catherine Dorris Norrell, the third woman in Arkansas to hold a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. They created the article on Brazilian politician Erica Malunguinho the first transgender person to serve in their State Congress. Students have also dealt with topics related to women and politics more broadly by tackling such entries as Women in governments of Israel and Gender inequality in Honduras.

While many students take on specific events, places, and persons, others have tackled broader, more general topics. They expanded the entry on Rapprochement as well as the timely subject of Post-truth. They created the article Celebrity influence in politics and expanded Working class in the United States.

The above is just a small sampling of what thousands of Political Science students have done in their Wikipedia assignments. If you’d like to run a Wikipedia assignment this Fall and continue this important work, apply by June 20 at Our work has just begun!


About the Author

Helaine Blumenthal
Senior Program Manager, Wikipedia Student Program

As Senior Program Manager, Wikipedia Student Program, Helaine develops relationships with instructors to deepen our support for program activities. Helaine is responsible for mentoring the instructors who teach Wikipedia classroom assignments. She ensures that instructors are well-supported throughout their Wikipedia assignment and helps them navigate Wiki Education’s robust set of resources. Helaine has a Ph.D. in history and brings extensive experience in higher education and academia to Wiki Education.

She has a passion for languages and is an avid (and experimental) chef, with “strong” feelings about food — though her daughters, Nina and Maxine, don’t give her much time for either.