The Roundup: Cell service

Unicellular organisms take the bare minimum to be considered complete. In that sense, they’re kind of the opposite of Wikipedia articles.

It’s surprising that the Wikipedia article on unicellular organisms languished for so long. Once just a stub with a list of links, the article was transformed by a student in Joel Parker’s Cell Biology course at SUNY Plattsburgh.

It’s now a deeply researched, illustrated summary article with quality citations to relevant academic literature. New additions include sections on prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells (with subsections), and a section on macroscopic unicellular organisms, that is, cells that we can see with our eyes alone. The article is clearly written and a great primer on the concept. It’s researched enough to help a specialist, but still accessible to curious readers who want to get a handle on the single-cell landscape.

Another student from that course took a single-sentence stub article on Hürthle cell adenoma, and expanded it into a five paragraph article explaining the relevance of the (usually harmless) condition, which is most commonly seen in elderly women. A student also added information about four genes that aid in the adaptive response of DNA.

It’s another example of how students in higher ed classrooms can take their knowledge to the world by providing comprehensive and comprehensible writing to Wikipedia, the world’s most-accessed open educational resource. Writing about genes and proteins on Wikipedia is now a little bit easier for students, thanks to our printed handbook that addresses exactly that. It’s available for free to students enrolled in courses participating in our Classroom Program.

Interested in learning more about this unique science communications opportunity for your students? Get in touch with us:

Photo: Modified from Paramecium tetraurelia by DavidpBowmanOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0.


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