Student Wikipedias: New Information Paradigms for Traditional Disciplines

Jana Javorčíková, Matej Bel University & Martina Šipošová, Comenius University, Slovakia (ID 109):    Teaching “classic” disciplines such as literature and humanities (e.g. cultural studies) in the new millennium inevitably requires new forms and methods since the role and value of information dramatically changed in the last 30 years. Among many, computer assisted learning plays a vital role as students, in the new globalized times of information era, except for contents of learning also need new skills, i.e. metaliteracy and information literacy.
The aim of this study is to describe the case study of Wikipedia-inspired collaborative learning used in cultural studies classes at university level in Slovakia. Wikipedia (introduced by Ward Cunningham in mid 1990s) is a modern “encyclopedia of all human knowledge“. It represents a project engaging global learning community in a unique learning experience integrating the writer(s) of encyclopedia entries and the complex process of gaining, evaluating and presenting information.
Inspired by the collaborative writing-centered philosophy of Wikipedia, a similar project was developed and carried out at a university level. In 2018, 24 B2 bachelor students majoring in English (translation and teaching programs) were co-writing dictionary entries on selected cultural studies phenomena, such as Human rights in the USA, Historical roots for the Affirmative Action, Republican vs. Democratic platforms, Differences in migration waves in the USA, The American Dream in selected literary works, etc. Via university supported web-page (allowing co-editing), 6 groups of pre-instructed students in the course of 3 months created a fully functional and reliable course-materials getting them ready for the final exam. Their product (well-evidenced entries) were no more teacher-centered but had a real-life impact. Moreover, it cultivated students’ information literacy and presenting skills.
The study analyses the role of new media in teaching traditional disciplines in humanities, such as literature and culture. The research analyses productivity, effectivity and hurdles to the effective use of wiki-inspired activities.

 

Key words: CALL, collaborative learning, group work, information literacy, metaliteracy, Wikipedia

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