Wikipedia Education Program

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Since 2007, students in Diana Strassmann’s Poverty, Justice and Human Capabilities (PJHC) classes [at Rice University] have worked in an area that may seem unusual for academia: They’ve learned to write – and edit – articles for the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. The innovative assignment for several PJHC courses has led to students producing objective, carefully sourced articles on subjects ranging from child poverty to microcredit for what Strassmann calls “increasingly the first resource many Internet users consult whenever they encounter an unfamiliar topic.” - See more at: http://news.rice.edu/2012/03/01/poverty-justice-and-human-capabilities-class-blazes-online-trail/#sthash.jDxJ9jjm.dpuf


The Wiki Education Foundation works with professors who want to assign their students to write or edit Wikipedia articles for class. The Foundation provides extensive training materials for students and for educators, as well as the assistance of Wikipedia Ambassadors. Research on a pilot program found that 72% of students preferred Wikipedia editing to a traditional assignment. "Students are forced out of the academic bubble; rather than writing for just their professor, they have opportunity to have their coursework reach an international audience. They’re able to share their work easily with their parents and friends." [1]

For examples of how Wikipedia editing can be incorporated productively into an economics class, review the following two courses designed and taught by Diana Strassmann, Carolyn and Fred McManis Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Humanities at Rice University, founding editor of Feminist Economics, and chair of the board of the Wiki Education Foundation.

  • Poverty, Justice, Human Capabilities "provides an introduction to the study of poverty, justice, and capabilities. The course considers theory and policy oriented towards improving human well-being in the US and internationally. Readings address material deprivations and inequalities, including links to racial and ethnic disparities, gender, sexual orientation, health status, education, human rights, and political freedoms."
  • Poverty, Gender, and Human Development, offered by Diana Strassmann and Anne Chao, "explores the gender dimensions of poverty and development policies in local and global communities. Drawing from feminist economics research, the course considers how gender relations and the organization of domestic and market work influence gender equality."


The Wiki Education Foundation "supports innovative uses of Wikipedia and related projects in communities of teaching, learning, and inquiry in the United States and Canada. The Foundation aims to improve the breadth, scope, and quality of Wikimedia content; enhance student information fluency; and increase the number and diversity of contributors to the free knowledge movement by engaging educators, researchers, and students."