Mandatory Activity for First Semester of B.Tech Programme
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,
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
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