Over 800 students from seven engineering disciplines of the College of Engineering Pune (CoEP) will now engage in editing Wikipedia pages, as a mandatory activity for first semester of their B.Tech programme.
Articles written by students for the web-based free content encyclopedia will carry weightage in terms of internal evaluation at the end of semester, said CoEP director Anil Sahasrabudhe on Wednesday. The exercise is aimed at developing research, writing and review skills,critical thinking and collaborative work ethics among students, he said.
Students from mechanical, electrical, electronics and telecom, production, computer, infotech and mathematics disciplines will work on select topics, under the guidance of trained faculties, for writing articles. Most topics relate to their respective engineering branches.
In all, 843 students from seven disciplines and 10 courses have been identified for the content writing activity. Details of topics have been posted on the Wikipedia site, which can be accessed by going to search for `WP: INDIAEDU or `Wiki India Education Program, said Sahasrabudhe.
Wikipedia, which ranks among the world’s biggest and most referred encyclopedias, have signed an agreement with the CoEP to facilitate training of students as well as faculty in content editing and article writing aspects. Incidentally, the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the online free encyclopedia, has chosen Pune as the first place outside San Fransico, US, for a pilot program in India that aims at promoting web based free content writing as a tool of learning in higher education.
Apart from CoEP, we are working with the Symbiosis School of Economics; Progressive Education Society’s Modern College of Engineering; and Shrimati Nathibai Damodar Thackerse’y (SNDT) University, said Hisham Mundol, Wikimedias national programs consultant for India.
As of now, Wikipedia has over 400 million users worldwide including 8 million in India. The free encyclopedia logs 12 billion page requests every month. Yet, it presents a unique model of content development through writing, editing and re-editing entirely by community members, who share a strong passion for various subjects.
Mundol said, the advent of internet has only ensured that accessing information has become easier, but on the flip side, it has also given way to intellectual laziness that was first recognised by professors and teachers at leading US institutions in terms of paper writing by their students. This also led to skepticism and hatred for the online encyclopedia.
To dispel doubts, Wikimedia launched a pilot project called Public Policy Initiative to explore the potential of formally using Wikipedia as a teaching and learning tool in higher education, he said. Professors at Harvard University, University of California, Berkeley and Georgetown University, among other institutions, have implemented Wikipedia into their class curricula, asking their students to create and improve articles on the English-language Wikipedia. The success of this programme prompted us to undertake similar projects elsewhere, he added.
Courtesy: Times of India