University of Edinburgh win higher education award for innovative use of Wikimedia in the curriculum

Ewan McAndrew (centre) at the University of Edinburgh Spy Week Wikipedia edit-a-thon – image by Mihaela Bodlovic CC BY-SA 4.0

Wikimedia UK is very pleased to announce that our partners at the University of Edinburgh have been awarded the Innovative Use of Technology award for their use of Wikipedia in the Curriculum at the Herald Higher Education Awards 2019.

University of Edinburgh Wikimedian in Residence Ewan McAndrew has been leading on this work in Edinburgh, running dozens of Wikimedia events since he began his residency in January 2016, and developing innovative projects and partnerships across the university

The award is well-deserved recognition for Ewan’s hard work in changing the perception of Wikipedia within academia, and the progress that has been made in the understanding of Wikimedia projects as important teaching tools.

Ewan attended the LILAC information literacy conference at Nottingham University in April, where he saw evidence of the growing recognition of Wikipedia as a learning platform.he University of Edinburgh was also awarded Wikimedia UK’s Partnership of the Year award in 2018.

As of April 2019, Ewan has delivered a total of 156 training sessions, trained 635 students, 419 staff, and 260 members of the public, and helped create 476 Wikipedia articles and improve 1946 articles.

Courses at the University which now include a Wikipedia assignment include: World Christianity MSc, Translation Studies MSc, History MSc (Online), Global Health MSc, Digital Sociology MSc, Data Science for Design MSc, Language Teaching MSc, Psychology in Action MSc, Digital Education MSc, Public Health MSc and Reproductive Biology Honours. Working with the Wikimedia projects not only allows students to improve the skills any university wants to develop (such as critical reading, summarising, paraphrasing, original writing, referencing, citing, publishing, data handling), but allows them to have influence beyond the university, with their work being read and influencing thousands of people reading Wikipedia.

Wikimedia UK hopes that the long term success of Ewan’s residency will encourage other universities to also employ Wikimedians to mainstream the use of Wikimedia projects as teaching and learning tools in UK universities. This trend seems to be taking effect already as Coventry University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab has recently employed Andy Mabbett as a part time Wikimedian in Residence, and we hope that other universities will follow suit.

We would like to thank Melissa Highton, the Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services at the University, for her vision and support of the residency, and Allison Littlejohn, whose research was crucial in showing that it was a worthwhile endeavour. Dr Martin Poulter’s work as Wikimedian in Residence at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, was also instrumental in demonstrating the worth of a Wikimedian in Residence in a university setting.

We wish Ewan and the rest of the team at the University of Edinburgh all the best, and look forward to their further recognition as trailblazers of learning innovation in the higher education sector.