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Digital Volunteering with Wikipedia

Wikipedia editing as part of The Edinburgh Award.

Editing Wikipedia has never been easier using the new Visual Editor interface which makes editing Wikipedia as easy as using Microsoft Word or Wordpress blogs. Now you can undertake Wikipedia editing as part of The Edinburgh Award and receive accreditation for developing important digital research skills and applying these to improving the knowledge freely available online.  Last year students were interested in improving topic coverage of Women in Astronomy, Young British Artists (and their artworks), 19th century photography and photographers, the African diaspora in Latin America, the Industrial History of Leith and much much more. You can read about the successful student projects for 2022/2023 in this blog article.

Learn more at our introductory workshop

This first introductory workshop is aimed purely at introducing the how and why of Wikipedia editing; including:

  1. Why should you edit Wikipedia?
  2. How to create your user page
  3. Mastering the Visual Editor – Headings, bold, links
  4. Mastering the Visual Editor – Citations
  5. Mastering the Visual Editor – Drafting your 1st article in the Sandbox

By the end of it you can then decide if you would like to undertake this Edinburgh Award and consider the subject area(s) you are interested in: be it Scots Law, Gothic Literature, Citizen Science projects, Climate Change, Covid-19 research, International Development, Women in STEM, Black History, LGBT history or anything else that appeals to your head and heart.

You can then work individually, in pairs, or groups from the first mandatory workshop on 18th October 2023 (4.30-6pm) onwards to the final deadline of midnight on Sunday 31st March 2024 and even look to host your own Wikipedia editing events to encourage others in your school or college to get involved and thereby improve awareness of how knowledge gets online locally and understanding of your discipline globally

Register your interest or find out more

Registration is now closed for 2023/2024 students interested in undertaking the award. Registration will close at the end of October 2023. The first 400 word action plan was due at midnight on 5 November 2023.

You can also email if you want to learn more or register your interest for the 2024-2025 award.

Please note: I am looking for an interested, committed group of students who can work work individually but form part of a team of editors to support one another.

What is involved

The Award encourages you to view your skills development as a three-step process:

  1. Identify the subject area(s) you wish to research (and improve Wikipedia's coverage of).
  2. Develop Wikipedia editing skills, copyright literacy, academic referencing and more through self-directed learning,  workshops and group work.
  3. Learn how to write for different audiences through publishing new and improved pages to Wikipedia.
  4. (optional) Stage fun & impactful editing events to encourage others in different schools, student societies to participate in an open knowledge community.

Working towards the Award will help you:

  • Increase your awareness of your strengths.
  • Make the most of your strengths, identify areas for development, and work on your individual action plan to develop these skills.
  • Confidently demonstrate what you have to offer to others.
  • Achieve a positive and lasting impact in your subject area(s).

Timeline for the Edinburgh Award

NB: These dates are flexible and subject to change, depending on student interest and availability.

4 October 2023 5pm-5.45pm  Introduction workshop 1  (50 George Square) - NB: you only need to attend 1 of these if you are interested in learning more.

9 October 2023 5pm-5.45pm

 Introduction workshop 2 (50 George Square) .

11 October 2023 12pm-12.45pm

 Introduction workshop 3 (Main Library).
11 October 2023 5pm-5.45pm  Introduction workshop 4 (Main Library).

18 October 2023 4:30-6pm

 Input Session 1 (Main Library) - the award begins with this 1st mandatory session.

29 October 2023 at midnight

 First reflection exercise deadline (400 word action plan and Graduate Attribute ranking).

1 November 2023 3.00-7pm  First Wikipedia training and group editing workshop to train you how to write your first article (Main Library).
5 November 2023 at midnight Final deadline for 1st Input reflection exercise deadline (400 word action plan and Graduate Attribute ranking).
15 November 2023 4.30-6.30pm  Project discussion day - discuss your project idea and create/enhance your Wikipedia project page.

6 December 2023 4.30-6pm

 Input Session 2 (Main Library) -  2nd mandatory session.

8 December 2023 12-2pm  Combined Christmas lunchtime get-together with the Digital Skills Specialist award participants (tbc.)

7 January 2024 at midnight

 Second reflection exercise deadline (Fortnightly log of activities).

17 January 2024  Mid point progress check in day (individual 15-30 minute meeting to be scheduled to check your project is working out).
1st February 2024 at midnight  Project goals to be finalised and end of project targets mutually agreed with Edinburgh Award mentor.

27th March 2024 4.30-6.30pm

 Input Session 3 (Main Library) - final mandatory session.

31st March 2024 at midnight

 Final reflection exercise deadline (800 word report or 3-6 min video and completed fortnightly log of activities).

4th April 2024  Completed submissions sent to Edinburgh Award team.
Reading Week in April 2024  In-person drinks reception at the Playfair Library in reading week in April to celebrate the students who achieve the Award. 


Activities required to complete the Edinburgh Award:

  1. Learn how Wikipedia editing works and consider a subject area you want to work on (4th or 9th October or 11th October) - (0.75 hours)
  2. Participate in three mandatory group "Input" sessions (18th October, 6th December, and 27th March)
    • The group sessions offer an opportunity to create and action plan for your development, reflect on your progress, and celebrate your progress with others. Engagement with all three Edinburgh Award inputs – (4 hours).
    • Submission of a skills self-rating at each Input and submission of reflection on skills development at Inputs 2 and 3 (4 hours).
  3. Participate in the requisite Wikipedia training sessions and project setup/mid point review discussions.
    • Commit to attend the 'writing your first article' training on 1st November AND project discussion days on 15 November and 17 January 2024. (7 hours)
  4. Undertake a Wikipedia editing project (October – March) 
  5. Reflect and present on your progress (March)
    • Reflection is a key element of the Award, and you are asked to write a short piece after each group session to explore your progress.
    • In the final group session you are asked to share what you have learned throughout your Award journey, and how you would sell your experience to future employers.

NB: The expectation is you would undertake 55-80 hours from October to March and attend the mandatory in-person Input sessions in this time.

Why this is important?

  • Quick facts about Wikipedia at 22
  • A recent survey by Yougov found that around two thirds of the British public trust Wikipedia more than traditional news outlets including the BBC, ITV, the Guardian and the Times.
  • One of the most visited websites worldwide, and now one of the most trusted, Wikipedia is a resource used by most university students. Increasingly, many instructors around the world have used Wikipedia as a teaching tool in their university classrooms as well.
  • Indeed, as the drive for scholarly research to become ever more Open Access gathers pace, Wikipedia will increasingly become the digital gateway to this research.