Technion shares academic knowledge in Wikipedia entries

Technion students are beginning to write articles for Wikipedia to add to free knowledge in science, technology, and mathematics.

The Computer Science Faculty building at Technion University in Haifa, Israel (photo credit: BENY SHLEVICH/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
The Computer Science Faculty building at Technion University in Haifa, Israel
(photo credit: BENY SHLEVICH/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

The Technion's Social Hub and the Center for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching has partnered with NGO "Wikimedia" to promote the writing of Wikipedia articles by students to share knowledge with the public and spread free knowledge in the fields of science, technology and mathematics. 

There are more than 300,000 entries on the Israeli Wikipedia site and it's the fifth biggest site in Israel in regards to views, with about 2,000 views per minute. 

However, in regards to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects, there is both a quantitative and qualitative shortage.

Coordinator of academic projects at Wikimedia Dr. Keren Shatzman says the organization is trying to expand Wikipedia's free knowledge base. 

While Wikipedia is not considered an academic source, about 85% of students in Israel use it as “presearch” so they can understand the subject matter by gaining some basic background before writing their academic articles. 

Fuad Fares and his son, Basem, work together at the Technion Faculty of Medicine (credit: Courtesy)Fuad Fares and his son, Basem, work together at the Technion Faculty of Medicine (credit: Courtesy)

Therefore "it is important that the information is good quality and reliable," Shatzman says.

"Academia is a public institution and has a role to play towards students as well as towards the general public. Writing entries in Wikipedia is an effective way of disseminating knowledge to teachers, students, and anyone who wishes to do independent learning, outside the confines of the campus", said the academic chairman of the Technion's Social Hub Dr. Meirav Aharon Gutman. 

As part of students' academic courses, they've started writing articles for Wikipedia. 

Graduate architecture student Zohar Weiss said that writing an entry on "cooperative housing" combined her personal interest with the professional knowledge she acquired in her studies. 

Weiss says, "At the end of the day people use it to research everything, but its impact is greater because the information reaches a really wide audience, which is really exciting.”