Wikimedian in Residence

Teaching with Wikipedia

Incorporate Wikipedia into your teaching.

The booklet for Wikipedia and Education can be found here and you can contact Ewan McAndrew ( or Wikimedia UK if you have any questions, want to get more involved in Wikimedia or be supported in running your own Wikipedia assignments!

Wikipedia in education: Teaching knowledge activism vs passive consumption 

A study by Selwyn found that 87.5% of students in 2016 used Wikipedia for their academic work and also highlighted that many used it for an ‘introductory and/or clarificatory role’.

This shows that Wikipedia is already a part of many students' learning and universities and education systems need to acknowledge this and incorporate it into their teaching. 

The University of Edinburgh is aware of this importance and it was the first university in the UK to employ a university-wide Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew. He  works within the university to facilitate a sustainable relationship between the University and Wikimedia UK to the mutual benefit of both communities through improving knowledge exchange.

Wikimedia UK and the University of Edinburgh recently joined forces to complete a booklet of case studies of Wikimedia in UK education which explains how you can teach with Wikipedia and gives 14 examples of where this has been successful. Melissa Highton, Assistant Principal Online Learning, University of Edinburgh, wrote:

‘We will enrich Wikipedia content with our research collections and expand the range of knowledge covered. We will contribute not only our research to Wikipedia but do research with and about Wikipedia. We will use the data sets being shared and study how the work of knowledge sharing and gathering is conducted.’

Melissa HightonAssistant Principal Online Learning, University of Edinburgh

In the first four years of this focus on Wikipedia and Wikimedia there have been 224 training session, 92 editathons and impressively 1,151 students, 519 staff and 474 members of the public have been trained (see here for up-to-date statistics). It is possible to deliver these training sessions both online and in person. 

The key Wikimedia projects for teachers are Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons and Wikibooks. These projects ensure that information, for example within medicine and science, is more accessible and potentially this access could be life changing.

Teaching with Wikipedia - a practical 'how to' guide.

This 1 hour video below is for any course leaders interested in learning more about Wikipedia Education assignments. The workshop showcases best practice derived from working with over a dozen course programmes at the University of Edinburgh over the last 4.5 years along with exemplars from other universities shown in our new booklet of Case Studies of Wikimedia in UK Education.

Contact Ewan McAndrew at if you would like to discuss designing a Wikipedia assignment in your discipline.

For types of Wikipedia assignments you can run and a few examples, please view our Teaching examples page.

Further resources 

© Ewan McAndrew and Hannah Rothmann, University of Edinburgh, 2020, CC BY-SA 4.0, unless otherwise indicated.