MISSION AND GOALS
The course aims to provide some hands-on training in technical writing and, at the same time, to contribute to the general diffusion of scientific and technical knowledge. These will be achieved by engaging Politecnico’s Ph.D. students in the production of new material (or revision of existing one) for Wikipedia.
Since its birth in 2001, Wikipedia has grown enormously in size and importance, so that today it is probably the first and foremost source of information on scientific and technological issues (but also on literature, arts, history, etc.) for the general public. This interdisciplinary course will introduce Politecnico’s Ph.D. students to the history, the workings and general rules of Wikipedia and, most of all, involve them in the production of new material for it. The Ph.D. students will choose what to contribute, depending both on their own background and on Wikipedia’s needs.
Further distinguishing points of the proposed course are:
• It is truly interdisciplinary, as it may be attended by Ph.D.’s from any course and undergraduate background;
• It will teach them in a very practical way about technical writing (the best Wikipedia articles have high standards, in this respect) and social responsibility;
• It will allow them to experience on-line collaboration with other Wikipedia users, possibly exposing them also to criticism;
• By focusing on Wikipedia’s content in their own field of expertise, the students will be stimulated to adopt a critical attitude towards what is written in it.
PLAN AND TOPICS OF THE LECTURES AND MEETINGS
1. Wikipedia: history, aims and structure (2 h).
2. How to contribute to Wikipedia: Expand short articles, Improve lead sections, Translate and clean up, Article development and content protocol,.... (4 h).
3. Selection of topics, design, writing and editing of new contributions (activities coordinated by the lecturers in the form of workshops) (22 h)
4. Final presentations, discussion (8 h).
LANGUAGE AND INSTRUCTORS
The introductory lectures will be in English and will be delivered by Andrew Mabbett, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK) and accredited trainer by Wikimedia-UK.
Other lecturers, including the coordinator and other staff from Politecnico di Milano, will provide assistance and contribute through discussion to the preparation/editing of the Wikipedia pages.
The Ph.D. students will be free to contribute to both the Italian and the English versions of Wikipedia.