Are Wikipedia and higher education natural allies? What are the inherent benefits and challenges of that alliance? U-M faculty members Cliff Lampe (School of Information) and Anne McNeil (Chemistry), along with librarian Ye Li, will discuss their experiences using Wikipedia in the classroom, and the relationship between the Wikipedia community and academia.
Cliff Lampe is an associate professor in the U-M School of Information. Previously, he spent six years as an assistant professor in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. He researches the social and technical structures of large scale technology mediated communication, working with sites like Facebook, Wikipedia, Slashdot and Everything2. He has also been involved in the creation of multiple social media and online community projects, usually designed to enable collective action. One of Cliff's core values is combining top quality research with community engagement.
Anne McNeil is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Professor in Chemistry and Macromolecular Science and Engineering. Her research interests include chemical education, homogeneous catalysis, and small molecule and polymer synthesis and applications. She has incorporated Wikipedia content creation as a group project in several graduate courses here at Michigan. To date, over 150 students have made substantive contributions to the science content on Wikipedia, with several pages being highlighted on the front page of Wikipedia. This exercise provides excellent training for graduate students in communication, writing, teamwork, and literature searching. At the same time, we are increasing the quality and quantity of scientific information available to the general public.
Ye Li is the Chemistry Librarian at U-M. Besides managing chemical information resources, she provides instruction and research consultations on scientific information and data in Chemistry and related fields. Since 2010, she and other librarians have been supporting classes using Wikipedia editing as course projects in collaboration with instructors from various disciplines, including Chemistry, Social Work, Information Science, History, Natural Resources and Environment etc. Ye is also working on research projects in developing standards and infrastructure for data and information sharing in Chemistry.