Academia and Wikipedia: Critical Perspectives in Education and Research 

June 18, 2018, Maynooth University, Republic of Ireland 

Wikipedia offers sui generis opportunities for research and teaching.  From datamining semantics to teaching students how to reference, to using Wikipedia as an example of the failure of the Enlightenment project, academics increasingly recognise the value of the data available through Wikipedia and the teaching opportunities it provides.  Views of other academics range from indifference to disdain, potentially broadening the elitism-gap in knowledge production and consumption.   

 “Academia and Wikipedia: Critical Perspectives in Education and Research” is a one-day conference that aims to investigate how researchers and educators use and interrogate Wikipedia.  The conference is an opportunity to present research into and from Wikipedia; research about Wikipedia, or research that uses Wikipedia as a data object.  We welcome proposals from scholars (advanced postgraduates, early career faculty, and senior faculty) in all fields who use Wikipedia in the classroom or tap it as a primary source.     

Possible themes for panels and papers include: 

  • Using Wikipedia in the classroom: a means to an end? 
  • Wikipedia as a data object 
  • Student perceptions of Wikipedia; student use of Wikipedia 
  • Faculty perceptions of Wikipedia 
  • Research and Wikipedia: academic profit or contributing to its mission? 
  • Wikipedia and epistemology 
  • Ethnography of editors 
  • Wikipedia and systemic bias  

Keynote speaker: Dr Bernie Hogan, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute 

Wikipedia in the classroom 

  • Over 400 universities in the United States and Canada have used Wikipedia in the classroom. 
  • Universities in 94 countries outside of North America have used Wikipedia in the classroom. 
  • According to the Wikimedia Education Foundation, 94% of instructors reported that using Wikipedia was more effective than traditional assignments in teaching media/information literacy. 
  • Over 6,000 students contributed to Wikipedia as part of the 2016 “Year in Science” program. 
  • Research indicates that although student use of Wikipedia is endemic many faculty continue to follow an abstinence based approach.   

Submission guidelines 

We welcome submissions of individual papers, panels, and round tables.  Submissions using the guidelines below should be sent to no later than February 28, 2018.  Decisions on conference inclusion will be made by March 5.  
Individual papers 
Individual presentations should be twenty minutes long.  Please email your paper title and a 150-word abstract to the contact address above. 

Panel presentations 
Panel proposals should consist of three papers.  In addition to individual abstracts, please provide a panel title and a 150-word description of the panel’s theme.  Please provide a single email address for communication.  
Round tables 
To submit a round table proposal please email the names and institutional affiliation of participants, including the facilitator, and a 300-word description that includes: the topic and its significance; the potential of the topic to contribute to scholarly conversation and the goals of the discussion; data and evidence that will be used in the discussion. Please provide a single email address for communication. 

 Programme Committee 

Chair, Dr Alison Hood, Dean of Teaching and Learning, Maynooth University 
Dr Denis Casey, Maynooth University
Dr Sharon Flynn, National University of Ireland, Galway 
Dr Susan Giblin, Maynooth University 
Dr Brian McKenzie, Maynooth University 
Dr Maire Ni Mhordha, Maynooth University 
Dr Rebecca O'Neill, Wikimedia Community Ireland