Wikipedia Goes to Grad School

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Science  12 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6006, pp. 891
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6006.891-c

Very few graduate-level science curricula include training in communicating advanced concepts to a general audience. Moy et al. report a class project that addressed this by having chemistry students edit an entry in collaboratively. Students selected topics that were related to the course and were minimally covered on Wikipedia. Student entries contained references, an introduction aimed at the general public, and figures to enhance the explanation of the topic. Student feedback collected at the end of the project revealed increased knowledge of their topic. A specialist in writing and rhetoric concluded that the students' entries were more engaging to general readers because of the attention to real-world applications and clear explanations of vocabulary. Course professors noted that students appeared to assess the material they added to the entry more critically than when they were simply studying for the class, which is consistent with the notion of students' developing a higher level of explanatory knowledge when teaching the material is a goal.

J. Chem. Educ. 87, 1159 (2010).

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