Wiki-Learning: Engaging with Deaf Culture through a Wikipedia University Project
Although Wikipedia, the collaborative content online encyclopedia, is often criticized as an unreliable information source, its use is ubiquitous on college and university campuses around the world. This paper describes a university-level Wikipedia project in which undergraduate students in a rehabilitation services program engaged with the Deaf community and Deaf culture by editing and expanding Wikipedia entries related to well-known Deaf people, Deaf culture, and Deafness generally. Students also engaged with the global community of Wikipedia authors and editors in collecting and sharing information. The objective of the project was to create and improve comprehensive and balanced coverage of Deaf culture and Deafness-related issues on Wikipedia. Throughout, Wikipedia served as a new tool for digitally mediated learning. Through the project, students gained collaborative experience and online searching, editing, and publishing skills. They also developed skills in evaluating primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, gained operational effectiveness in website and open source development, and sharpened their critical thinking and analysis skills. A Deaf professor who specializes in Deaf rehabilitation developed and facilitated the project to enhance student’s capacity to function as scholars in a digital world. Ultimately, students made significant contributions to the body of knowledge related to Deafness, and their work improved Wikipedia’s value as a source for Deafness related material.
Keywords: E-learning, Digitally Mediated Learning, Deaf Culture on the Internet, Wikipedia, Wiki Authorship
Dr. Shawn Patrick Saladin
Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation, The Univeristy of Texas Pan American