Students lean in to learn about Wikipedia. Photo by Ellis Christopher, licensed CC BY.

Pete Forsyth, an early designer of the Wikipedia Education Program, is now teaching a free online course on Wikipedia and Open Educational Resources, along with Wikipedian and education researcher Sara Frank Bristow. The six-week course, “Writing Wikipedia Articles,” recently concluded its first run, and will be offered again starting 14 May (Americas)/15 May (Asia/Australia). You can enroll here.

The course was born of Communicate OER, a project that seeks to activate the Open Educational Resources community to improve and update Wikipedia articles relevant to its field. Accordingly, as students learn about the technical and social aspects of Wikipiedia, they are encouraged to improve such articles as open educational resources, open content, MOOC, and free license. Students successfully completing the course earn the WikiSOO Burba Badge, which is based on English Wikipedia’s “service awards” and Peer to Peer University’s badges. The course is offered through the Peer to Peer University’s recently launched School of Open.

“This course has allowed us to bring together several communities that are passionate about the same things, but not always closely connected,” Forsyth said. “The OER community brings the values and practices that brought Wikipedia into existence to formal and informal learning around the world. The School of Open provides the perfect environment for a course like ours, allowing us to work alongside colleagues from free culture organizations like Creative Commons and Mozilla.”

Students are welcome to enroll regardless of their background; while some familiarity with wikis or OER can be helpful, it is not required.

“The WikiSOO course is exactly the kind of work serious Wikipedians need to be doing not only to make their encyclopedia better, but to make their community a more sane place to collaborate,” said Christine, a student who earned the WikiSOO Burba Badge in the course’s first run. “This course provides a solid primer of the skills needed to navigate the syntax, discourse, and guidelines you will encounter if you want to make substantive contributions to Wikipedia’s audacious mission.”

Enrollment in the course’s second run is open through next week. (The first class will be held Tuesday/Wednesday.) See the course’s page on the School of Open for more information, or to join the 60 students who have already enrolled!

LiAnna Davis, Wikipedia Education Program Communications Manager