IAPH Conference Bursary winner report 2018; Dr Denis Casey

Academia and Wikipedia: Critical Perspectives in Education and Research, Maynooth University, 18 June 2018

L to R: Dr Brian McKenzie (Critical Skills Subject Leader), Dr Alison Hood (Dean of Teaching and Learning) and Dr Bernie Hogan (Oxford University).
L to R: Dr Brian McKenzie (Critical Skills Subject Leader), Dr Alison Hood (Dean of Teaching and Learning) and Dr Bernie Hogan (Oxford University).

Wikipedia is often viewed with mistrust in academia, however the Critical Skills programme at Maynooth University has been pioneering its use as a pedagogic tool, encouraging students to add content to it, improve its reliability, disseminate knowledge, and develop key academic skills in the process. On Monday 18 June, this engagement culminated in a free one-day conference held by the Office of the Dean of Teaching and Learning on the use of Wikipedia in education and research, featuring speakers from five different continents (some of whom participated remotely and were also live-streamed).

Historians from various institutions (such as Maynooth University and the Wellcome Library) presented on aspects of their research and experience, and panels also dealt with issues that affect historians and academics more broadly (e.g. systemic bias in Wikipedia, faculty perceptions of Wikipedia, and Wikipedia as a platform for enhancing students’ writing skills). Other topics ranged from using Wikipedia in healthcare education, to student experiences as editors. The day ended with a keynote lecture by Dr Bernie Hogan (Oxford University) on open access and the geopolitics of representation on Wikipedia.

Funding for the conference was generously provided by the IAPH, with a particular aim of facilitating the attendance of young scholars whose presentations had a historic focus. Many funding bodies, although generous, do not offer hands on support. Consequently, the organisers of Academia and Wikipedia are grateful for the IAPH’s continued interest in the progress of preparations and their support on social media, which enabled us to reach a large and diverse audience.

 

Dr Denis Casey, Member of the Academia and Wikipedia organising committee and IAPH (denis.casey@mu.ie)

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