OER1113 Oral Presentation ppt

Wednesday 11 May 16.50 Breakout Room 4/4a

Wikipedia and Higher Education: Beat them or join them?

Martin Poulter, TRUE project / DeSTRESS project / Wikimedia

Conference Theme: Collaboration and communities

Abstract: The presenter works on OER projects in Higher Education, and also in a voluntary capacity for Wikipedia, which aims to bring the world's knowledge to all of humanity. Both efforts are worthwhile, but their reach and impact is very different. I will argue that Wikipedia and its related projects have achieved enormous impact due to cultural factors that are only evident "behind the scenes". These cultural factors, including very high degrees of risk tolerance and individual empowerment, are largely alien to present-day Higher Education and become more so as universities become increasingly managerial. Some attempts to improve on the Wikipedia model, such as Citizendium, lack this special ingredient and enjoy considerably less impact. Universities have entirely different strengths from Wikipedia, but cannot put off the decision of whether they will try to compete with it, work with it for the common good, or work in a complementary way. If they want to be more wiki-like, they need to realise that this is not a matter of mere technological change, or even of individual practice.

Keywords: Community; policy; wiki; participation; risk