Campus visit to Wayne State kicks off Wikidata collaboration

Earlier this month, I visited Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, to delve into planning a collaboration with their School of Information Sciences around integrating Wikidata assignments into the curriculum. Wikidata is a Wikimedia project that is an open structured data repository; Wiki Education is eager to get started on improving the quality, quantity, and equity of information available on Wikidata.

We approached Wayne State because of a previous collaboration with Jon Cawthorne when he was with West Virginia University; now, he’s dean of libraries and the information school at Wayne State University. Jon and his staff were eager to collaborate with us when we approached them about the possibilities of creating a Wikidata curriculum for their library and information science courses. We are hoping to begin development in 2019, with the goal of having a handful of courses using Wikidata assignments in the spring 2020 term.

To kick off our collaboration, I traveled to campus to meet with various faculty, staff, students, and administrators at Wayne State. The campus community offered me a hearty welcome, and everyone was enthusiastic about the potential of our collaboration. Wayne State is seeking innovation projects like this that can teach students key 21st century interdisciplinary skills about topics like data literacy, and we believe Wikidata is a key tool for providing that education.

While on campus, I also presented three events. First, I led a workshop for faculty and librarians on how to teach with Wikipedia through our existing Wikipedia Student Program. Several faculty expressed interest in integrating Wikipedia assignments into their courses to start learning the Wikimedia world prior to the launch of our Wikidata program. Next, I presented an overview of Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and Wikidata, and why people should contribute their knowledge to all three, to a group of graduate library and information science students. Finally, I led a Wikidata editing workshop for the campus community, where we learned a bit about what Wikidata is, why it’s important, and how to edit. I was pleased with the outcomes: My 11 workshop participants edited 26 Wikidata items and Wikipedia articles.

I look forward to collaborating with Wayne State in the future as we pursue a model for Wikidata classroom assignments that can be replicated across disciplines and at other institutions.


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