May, 2015 Students Writing History: Wikipedia in the Classroom • • • • Dr Rob Nelson, Department of History Dr Heidi Jacobs, Leddy Library Sydney Murray, History Undergraduate Robert DeRose, History Undergraduate Do all History classes start with the professors saying ‘We really don’t know much about the subject of this course. But let’s all figure it out as we go along’? – A second-hand report of non-major’s comment after the first day of “History on the Web,” January 2014. danah boyd “Being exposed to information or imagery through the internet and engaging with social media do not make someone a savvy interpreter of the meaning behind these artifacts. . . teens will not become critical contributors to this ecosystem simply because they were born in an age when these technologies were pervasive” (171). - It’s Complicated: The Social Life of Networked Teens (2014) Rob: Beginnings Sydney Initial Situation – English Language • • • • • ~2,100 words 7 dodgy citations 3 references 0 cohesion, poorly structured Made up statistics “We’re under siege!” Chris Troutman Correspondence Troutman “made our article considerably better. [He] deleted our content and edited our writing, but he did so with good intent, always justifying his edits and private messaging us with editing guidelines and formatting tips and tricks.” –Calin, Sydney, Justin and Emile One year later… After reverting “about a million changes” by one pesky user, Troutman lives on as a crusader of the Wikitrenches Rob II Demystifying the Discovery of Machu Picchu Controversy ❖Tourism ❖ Deaths ❖ Nudists ❖ Kidnapping Human Sacrifice, Aliens & Mysticism Machu Picchu and L. Ron Hubbard “ Scientologists believe that their founder L. Ron Hubbard was the re-incarnation of the Incan king Pachacuti, who was believed to be a direct descendant of an alien from the highest class of elites. Pachacuti's thetans travelled to earth from a distant planet after being banished by Xenu. These thetans were reincarnated into Hubbard upon Hiram Bingham's meddling at Machu Picchu in 1911. It is no coincidence that Hubbard was born in March of that year which was the precise time that Bingham had re-discovered the lost city.” Concluding Thoughts "of all the changes made on the Machu Picchu page, the most insightful and informative is that the correct pronunciation and spelling is in fact Machu Pikachu." Rob: Nurturing Historians Adam, Gillian, Caitie and Rebecca “this project gave us the opportunity to contribute to a neglected history page expanding and adding to history on the web.” “We felt like historians…” Rob and Heidi “More specifically, we wanted students to see Wikipedia as something they could use their voices and expertise to change and make better….Our students realized they were not just writing for their professors: they were working toward something larger than a final grade, something that could potentially make a difference in the ways people saw or understood history.” (Article forthcoming in Reference and User Services Quarterly) Heidi: Conclusions danah boyd “Censorship of inaccurate or problematic content does not provide youth the skills they will one day need to evaluate information independently. They need to know how to grapple with the plethora of information that is easily accessible and rarely vetted. . . we cannot abandon them to learn these lessons alone” (181-182) danah boyd “Talking about youth as digital natives implies that there is a world in which these young people all share and a body of knowledge they have all mastered rather than seeing the online world as unfamiliar and uncertain for us all” (192). It’s Complicated: The Social Life of Networked Teens (2014) Thank you for your time Questions?