Methodologies for teaching Ancient History with Wikipedia

Juliana Bastos Marques (University of Rio de Janeiro)

Digital Classicist London seminar 2019

Friday June 28th at 16:30, in room G34, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Livecast at Digital Classicist London YouTube channel.

I have been teaching undergraduate and graduate Ancient History classes with the aid of Wikipedia since 2011. Students learn to read and review critically the current stage of Ancient History-related articles, and to improve them using detailed language skills and references. Not only this helps them learn more about the Ancient World, but it improves their informational literacy tremendously. Throughout these last eight years, I’ve developed some methodologies for different teaching scenarios, from a 2-hour lecture, a full-day workshop to an entire semester, which I’d like to present here. All of them are centered on an analysis of Wikipedia’s “Five Pillars” (notability, impartiality, free content, civility in cooperation, and proactivity), which are discussed through the use of examples based on specific topics previously chosen by the teacher. This primary analysis has shown to be fundamental for success in hands-on activities, as well as the teacher’s familiarity with the editing process and interaction with the editor community. With enough time to edit articles afterwards, the teacher can either prepare texts in advance for new articles, in quick workshop scenarios where the student has time to learn wiki editing and layout, to a detailed process of researching, writing, discussing, and uploading content created by the student, in the case of full semesters. Wikimedia Commons also offers interesting possibilities for working with images, either through content curation and selection, or through producing and uploading images—a particularly valuable tool when the subject is heritage.